Thursday, 10 June 2010

Flax, film and my cousin Rachel


I was a little late is photographing the blue fields of flax/linseed.  I've only just discovered, by the way, that they are the same thing.  I often forget to take my camera with me so I miss perfect shots and a week later the magic scene has faded or the flowers have dropped.  Perhaps it was the hot dry weather that caused the late Spring flowers to disappear so quickly this year.  Am busy sweeping up the wisteria petals every day.

Books and Film
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier.  This is a beautifully written semi-Gothic psychological thriller. Not sure why it was considered a romance. I must have read it at school but didn’t remember a thing about it luckily as I was gripped this time and could hardly bear to put it down. I admire the way the plot, with its unreliable young male narrator, unfolds layer by carefully confusing layer and we are left unsure as to who is the villain. We don’t even see Rachel very clearly as her character is distorted by Philip’s emotional viewpoint. Sally Beauman in her introduction considered this to be a feminist novel depicting a (Victorian?) woman at the mercy of men with money, and in turn they are victims of her charms. A very interesting and impressive book. I’ll probably read it again fairly soon and make notes.

I'd been looking forward to the DVD of Les Visiteurs, about a time-travelling knight who appears in modern France and quite naturally does not behave in a politically correct manner.  This is absolutely hilarious, I told the family, but none of us found it nearly so amusing the second time around.  Ah well.

On the other hand, I am enjoying Small Island by Andrea Levy much more on a second read.  The difference, and I hate to admit this, is that the TV film brought it to life for me.

8 comments:

JJ Beattie said...

I bought several Daphne du Maurier's back with me from the last UK trip... can't remember which but I must get on with them.

Flower is a beautiful shade...

Debs said...

I haven't read My Cousin Rachel and definitely will have to now.

Lovely photo.

Talli Roland said...

Gorgeous flowers!

I haven't read My Cousin Rachel, but it looks like its worth checking out.

Lane said...

I must re-read My Cousin Rachel as it was too long ago to remember. I love a book with an unreliable narrator, like Engleby or The Little Stranger.

And I agree that the Small Island adaptation made those characters extra real:-)

Nan said...

I had no idea that flax and linseed were the same thing, or that it is so very beautiful. I love that color. A little while back there were lots and lots of women's clothes made from flax. I don't see them as much now, but I do love them. Is linen the same as flax, Susie?? Did you watch Rosemary & Thyme? I loved Pam Ferris' clothes in it. I have a bit of linen but not nearly as much as I'd like!

Susie Vereker said...

Thank you for your comments, JJ, Debs, Talli and Lane.
Yes, Nan, linen is made from flax. I don't usually watch Rosemary & Thyme but if Pam Ferris looks good, I will now do so. Am on the lookout for clothes for the shape-challenged type of woman!
Linen seems to be having a come-back again this year, even in the chain stores, but it does crush somewhat.
Lane, my SatNav speaks in the same voice as your Legolady which makes me think of your cracking videos.

Nan said...

Glad to hear that about linen. I don't mind crushed and wrinkly. :<) Rosemary & Thyme wasn't fantastic in terms of plots but the women were so great.

Lorna F said...

I remember reading 'My Cousin Rachel' when I was in my late teens and feeling very unnerved by the ambiguity of it - excellent use of an unreliable narrator and quite an ending. Ironically, a couple of weeks ago, I reread 'Jamaica Inn' for the first time since schooldays - partly since I've got to know Cornwall a bit since then and wanted to see how it was described. I enjoyed it but not as much as I'd expected. Descriptions were lavish and atmospheric but perhaps too lengthy for modern tastes, the action and conversation often very melodramatic - and I'm sorry, but there's no way I'd be crossing the Tamar with Jem Merlyn at the end! He got right up my nostrils! My favourite du Mauriers are still 'Rebecca' and 'Frenchman's Creek'.