The House on the Strand
4 journalers for this copy...
Released 16 yrs ago (10/11/2004 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sent in trade to another bookcrossing memeber
I really enjoyed this book, and am still surprised that I'd never heard of it before seeing it on BC. It's a moody, atmospheric book with subplots involving time travel (of a sort), scientific experiments, marital discord, and historical melodrama. (It's also a bit ambiguous; if you like your novels to tie up all the plot threads neatly at the end, this may not be the book for you.)
[No major plot spoilers follow, but if you don't want to know anything about the setup then stop reading now.]
It begins as the narrator is experiencing his first time-jump; his friend Magnus has sent him an experimental drug, the effect of which is to allow him to observe and move through the distant past as if he were there, but without his actually being present - or being able to touch or interact with anything from that time. [As he discovers all too soon, his body moves through the present as his consciousness moves through the past, so while he's observing these fascinating scenes he's effectively sleep-walking around the countryside oblivious to pitfalls and traffic. This will eventually result in some nightmarish episodes, but it doesn't dissuade our hero from becoming addicted to this time-voyeurism!] He becomes fascinated with the characters he sees in the past, and spends his intervals in the present doing research to try to verify their existence and see whether the drug actually does let him see the past or simply generates hallucinations.
Many aspects of the time-travel process are left unexplained, though the characters make a few guesses and the reader can make a few more. Since the whole thing's experimental, even Magnus the inventor doesn't quite know what's going on. [While Magnus remains offstage for most of the book, communicating only briefly with the narrator via phone and letter, he's a significant part of the story. In addition to setting up the experiment that drives most of the plot, Magnus is also a key figure in the narrator's life; the narrator describes their early friendship fondly, and suggests that some of the tension in his marriage is due to his wife's dislike of Magnus. Whether that's because she's jealous of their friendship - or of the possibility of something more, as it's revealed later in the book that Magnus is gay - is never made quite clear; but then, as I said, if you want subplots neatly tied up, this is not the book for you! At any rate, when Magnus does appear on the scene, the tension tightens, and - but no, I wouldn't want to spoil it...]
For a book that unfolds as slowly as this one does, there's quite a bit of suspense, often with that nightmarish quality of being unable to get away from an impending threat. I enjoyed this quite a lot. [Was also pleased to see that this book's back in print, under ISBN 0812217268!]
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I plan to leave this in the book-swap rack in the adult fiction section of the Derry Public Library at about 2:30 pm.
This is my third book by Daphne de Maurier. The others were Rebecca & Jamaica Inn.
[I read this book from April 12-April 17. Finished it last night. I'm leaving it where I found it, so others may enjoy it.
The condition of the book wasn't too bad, for a used paperback, but, I'm the one that put the fold on the front cover - LR corner. Sorry, I was carrying it in my backpack. Took it to work with me and read a few pages when I had a break, so it got a bit banged up in the process.
I hope the next reader who picks this up will enjoy it as much as I did.
Oh, and I'm adding my name on the bookmark. In red.]
CAUGHT IN DERRY NH USA