Best 1938 Adventures (7)
May 16, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1938 adventure novels. Happy 80th anniversary!
Daphne du Maurier’s psychological thriller Rebecca.
While working as wealthy woman’s companion in Monte Carlo, a naïve young American is romanced by Maxim de Winter, a wealthy English widower some two decades her senior. Our unnamed narrator accompanies her husband to his beautiful estate, Manderley, on England’s rugged southwestern tip… where she encounters Manderley’s housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers — a spiteful, vindictive villainness! It seems that Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca, was everything that our heroine is not: beautiful, witty, urbane, charming. Soon enough, Mrs. Danvers manipulates her master’s new wife into making a fool of herself at Manderley’s annual costume ball, then urges her to kill herself. Will the housekeeper succeed in her evil machinations? Is Maxim still in love with his first wife? And what actually happened to Rebecca, anyway? This is the atmospheric thriller to end all atmospheric thrillers.
Fun facts: An immediate bestseller, Rebecca has never gone out of print, and it has been adapted for stage and screen several times — most notably Orson Welles’s 1938 radio drama adaptation, and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film starring Sir Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and Dame Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.