I assume a very destined approach when I go to the book store to choose books to buy and eventually read some day. I never pick the books easily reachable. I love to pull apart all the neatly stacked books to find what gems are hidden behind. In such a quest, I tumbled upon The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier.
Now, we all have heard about Rebecca. It was one of the most delectable literary work ever. In some weird mysterious way, I was frightened to pick The Parasites. The way logical mind tries to justify irrationality is something boyfriends/husbands should learn for relationship bliss. What I meant to say is I didn’t buy The Parasites that time and convinced myself that I am spending way too much on books. While the truth is I was afraid to be disappointed because I have condemned Dame Du Maurier with high expectations. It would be, literally, a physical pain to find out that Rebecca is all she had in her.
Months passed by and again I stopped by the local bookstore. There, I found a single copy. It felt slightly more attractive with a smooth pale violet dust and felt like Victorian Era with a picture of theatre. I mused a bit over it and weighed it in the imaginary balance I carry inside my head. I simply turned to the first page and read the first line. The decision came in a flash, Buy!
“It was Charles who first called us Parasites”
Tell me, readers! How can one leave behind that book without knowing who are the parasites and why they are so called? My curiosity peaked and then started a smooth journey into the lives of Maria, Nail and Celia.
One unique style the author possess is to create mystery over such minute aspects that it becomes haunting even after the book is over. Like for instance, we still do not know the second wife’s name who breathe life into Rebecca. Daphne never mentions the name even once. Doesn’t it nags at the back of your mind that you cannot call by name the favorite character created in the world of literature? We go on and on about the merits of Rebecca but there is always a jerk at the tip of the tongue because the heart remembers that Rebecca is actually the femme fatale villain and we cannot conjure a name for the beloved one.
That’s it! Daphne Du Maurier keeps the name of the beloved silent. Similarly, we will never know with whom Maria had an affair with in The Parasites. He will always remain as a “he” till the end of times. Who was he? Damn it, just give us a name, even when it really doesn’t matter. Isn’t this a smack on your brains for being so irritatingly inquisitive about things that are none of your business in your regular lives? Well, serves us right!
The writing is smooth and subtle. You have to figure out what is not written but could have been obviously written. Madame Daphne is not crass or loud. She is very genteel and it reeks out of her choice of words and incidents. This is the book that will make you straighten up your back and sip tea silently. It makes you believe that there is very cultured and proper world, if only you tuck a foot behind the ankle while sitting on the couch even when no one is watching.
About the story, it has no concrete beginning or end. It flows from here to there but still carrying a connecting gossamer thread and slowly everything makes sense to the reader. How politely the author depicts the flaws of her characters making it near to impossible to hate them. Sooner or later, we notice our mind vouching for them, justifying them, frowning at anyone who dare to judge the lovely, selfish, broken Delaney Family.
If you ask me what Daphne Du Maurier does to her readers? I would have only one answer:
“She makes us love the sinners with an earnest complexity.”