Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peter Pan and Daphne and Rebecca and Wuthering Heights

I swear, Justine Picardie, couldn't have woven a better tapestry of interrelated threads together than the lovely work she uncovered and presented in Daphne. In rereading that sentence, it sounds like a dig, but it isn't. The Brontes and du Mauriers and Lost Boys of Neverland are so intertwined that their story is really, as Picardie presents it, one long story.

Now that I've finished the novel and read her acknowledgements and afterword, I can fully appreciate the work she did as a literary slueth. I especially liked how she wove elements of her own story into that of Daphne with the contemporary heroine, who does, finally, get a name.

When I read books that I love, the stories and the authors that produce them become part of my bones, and their stories become part of my story as well. Part of who I am comes from the books I read and reread, especially during those teenage years. Picardie taps into this feeling so beautifully with Daphne so that interconnected aspect of literature becomes integral to the story and theme as well.

In my last two posts, I neglected to mention the Peter Pan aspect of the Daphne story but the last part of Daphne really brings this facet to the foreground. Daphne du Maurier's cousins were the original Lost Boys that J.M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan for and about, and it is a thing of beauty to watch Picardie work with Branwell Bronte and Peter Pan while not losing track of Rebecca and Rachel and Heathcliff and Cathy. There's a wonderful sense of place throughout the whole--from Hamstead Heath to Haworth to Menabilly and Cornwall and back to London.

I wonder whether I should watch Finding Neverland at last, and what about Daphne? I'll definitely be reading The Brontes, by Juliet Barker and Daphne du Maurier, by Margaret Forster.

Finally, here is Justine Picardie's blog, which is loaded with interesting articles, photos, etc. about Daphne du Maurier.

Here's my first post about Daphne, and here's the second.


  1. I have this one on my pile to read--I keep hearing great things about it! And I read the Forster bio of Daphne du Maurier and it is excellent--concentrates a bit on her darker side, but very interesting reading!

  2. And the Forster bio is on my TBR pile--I'd love to hear your thoughts on Daphne when you get to it.

  3. Finding Neverland is entertaining (althoughnot quite correct factually)and The Brontes is amazing - I still read parts when I need a fix. The Margaret Forster is excellent. I can't decide if I should get this. Should I?