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The Scapegoat (VMC Book 424) [Kindle Edition]

Daphne Du Maurier , Lisa Appignanesi
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

By chance, two men - one English, the other French - meet in a provincial railway station. Their physical resemblance is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John, the Englishman, falls into a drunken stupour. It's to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, his French companion has stolen his identity and disappeared. So John steps into the Frenchman's shoes, and faces a variety of perplexing roles - as owner of a chateau, director of a failing business, head of a fractious family, and master of nothing.


Gripping and complex, The Scapegoat is a masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self.


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Product Description

Review

'This book is one of her best' TIME AND TIDE

Book Description

Gripping and complex, THE SCAPEGOAT is a masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self.

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More About the Author

Daphne du Maurier was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier. Educated at home and later in Paris, she began writing short stories and articles in 1928, and in 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. Rebecca made her one of the most popular authors of her day. Many of her bestselling novels became award-winning films. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books. She died in 1989.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 25 July 2009
By Gregory S. Buzwell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When you look at the premise for The Scapegoat it really shouldn't work, but such was du Maurier's skill as a writer, and such was her complete control of character and plot, that the reader never once pauses to question the plausibility of what is going on.

Two men, one a rather shabby French aristocrat called Jean, and the other a down-at-heel English teacher of French history called John, meet by chance in France. So far so ordinary but what brings the two men together is the fact that they look identical. Wishing to escape the tangled mess of his home life the Frenchman wines and dines his new found friend before leaving him drunk in a cheap hotel. The Englishman wakes up, wearing the other chap's clothes and with the other chap's papers. Understandably annoyed John finds himself almost against his will - and then with increasing relish and delight - playing the part of the French aristocrat: living in his house, being the head of the family, and running his double's business and entertaining his double's array of mistresses. As a plot device it's fascinating and du Maurier makes full use of the possibilities the storyline gives her. The French household which formerly had a swaggering bully at its head now has a sensitive and uncertain imposter pulling the strings and attempting to work out the past of the man whose role he has taken.

Perhaps even better than the set up of the novel are the characters of the people living in the French chateau. Jean's mother is doped-up to her eyeballs; his wife is sweet but easily manipulated; his sister, for reasons which only gradually emerge, refuses to talk to him while his brother understandably hates him because Jean appears to be having an affair with his wife.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A lonely single English man John who longs for a life so different to his own meets a Frenchman Jean who has all the ties and responsibilities John has never known ; a crumbling family business, a sick mother, a dependent wife and child, and a reputation.
John and Jean also happen to be identical, so Jean (who is also tired of his life but for the opposite reasons to John) decides to trick John into swapping places. John finds himself in someone elses shoes and leading the life of a person he has always wanted to be, but it doesnt turn out as he hoped and the masquerade leads to disaterous consequences.
Im not going to spoil it for you though so just buy it! Its another fantastic Daphne du Maurier book.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An almost forgotten masterpiece 22 Feb. 2005
Format:Paperback
It's great to see Daphne du Maurier getting a reprint of all her novels with revamped covers. It's easy to think of her as a writer of romantic melodrama but she isn't and this book, as if the others haven't anyway, proves that she has plenty to say about the human condition. Beautifully written and cleverly paced The Scapegoat draws you in and keeps you fascinated to learn the truth about the protagonists double.
Apart from being an atmospheric and well written thriller the book has a number of philosophical questions to ask about the nature of self and the different perspectives we all bring to the same situation. Above all it's about the choice we all have to do good or evil in our lives. It never at any point gets bogged down in what it is trying to say. A deftly written well told story that shows you don't have to sacrifice content, character and storytelling on the altar of style and structure to make a point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
...lives are forever changed. English John meets French Count Jean and share dinner and drinks as they discuss the remarkable likeness the two share. But Jean's financial problems drive him to render John unconscious, switch identities and leave him in his place to deal with his failing glass factory and fractious family. John soon finds himself in the midst of a mine-field dealing with a pregnant "wife", a couple of mistresses (one of those being his sister-in-law), a "sister" who won't speak to him, a precocious "daughter" and an ailing "mother" with a bad habit.

Despite all the pitfalls, John comes to care for this new family and strives to find ways to make the glass factory a success - until a tragedy strikes that brings an unexpected financial windfall to the family's fortunes - but news of that windfalls also brings back...... More than that I'm not telling - you know I'm not into spoilers and book reports. As with all Du Maurier's books her writing and characterizations are subtle and sublime and I'm once again left with an enigmatic ending that kept me guessing just a little bit more. Four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, wow, well worth a second visit, 12 Oct. 2012
By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
D Du M was the J K Rowling of her age. Unafraid to veer off down another track after the huge success of `Rebecca', and with a family history of French glass working, `The Scapegoat', set in the mid nineteen fifties is a deep, intricate moral tale with themes that are fresh and contemporary today. I have just re read it after forty years, following the TV adaption recently aired. This programme took hundreds of liberties with the original story but still managed to create an eminently watchable, intriguing parable about good and evil.

Drug abuse, a failing family business, money worries, infidelity, jealousy, long held grudges, servants who harbour secrets, it's all here. John and Jean are mirror images of each other who have never met and are not related. An opportunity is taken and they exchange lives, something that appeals and excites the imagination. The setting is in France, John is on a research tour, Jean is escaping the enormous burdens of his position as Comte, head of his large and complicated family and master of the family glassworks, an industry that is failing to keep up with the times. Memories of resistance fighting and collaboration during WWII still linger dangerously in the air. John seems the duller of the pair but watch him go when he gets the chance.

With beautiful language, exquisite, elegant imagery, intriguing personal dilemmas, `The Scapegoat' is a superb piece of writing. I didn't truly appreciate it when I first read it so long ago, perhaps disappointed because it wasn't another Rebecca. However now I can see it for what it is; a great story, one that sets you thinking on many levels and linger deliciously in your mind long after the book is closed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A weird and whacky tale.
A strange tale of deceit and disguise, I rather enjoyed it. It is worth definitely worth reading to the end.
Published 22 days ago by Mrs. M.Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sca
A writer who knew well the skill of writing
Published 2 months ago by Noel F. Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars To read and re-read
I have lost count of the times I have read this but I still loved reading it again.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Petra Sattar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book. What more can I say. Don't want to give anything away.
Published 3 months ago by K. Monaghan
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading it but was disappointed at the ending
Very interesting story with many twists. Enjoyed reading it but was disappointed at the ending.
Published 4 months ago by Janet Eveline Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars she understands it completely and I felt the family of the French...
There is a central conceit that is fairly implausible - that two people are so alike that they can swap their lives, but Du Maurier is an ace story teller; she holds enough back to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sheena Vernon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 5 months ago by Ruth Lopez Pontaque
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought for father and he loves it.
Published 5 months ago by Naomi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good and exciting read
Published 6 months ago by Susan Tillett
5.0 out of 5 stars Daphne at her best
Wonderful as always
Published 7 months ago by Graham Robert Mead
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