Candy Palmater on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca
Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca is considered a classic of Gothic romance, and has sold millions of copies since it was first published in 1938. A "domestic noir" tale of the kind recently made popular by Gone Girl and The Silent Wife, Rebecca tells a haunting story that has captivated generations of readers.
Comedian Candy Palmater is an avid reader and book collector, but she returns to Rebecca again and again. She spoke to The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers about what makes this book her undisputed favourite, and why she doesn't care if critics (or her friends) agree with her taste.
ON FINDING THE RIGHT BOOK AT THE RIGHT TIME
I read this book for the first time when I was 30. I don't read romance novels, but when I picked up Rebecca, it changed everything. I re-read it almost every year. I'm not a fast reader, but I read it in one sitting. I stayed up until I was done. The main character is this young girl, and I was a young woman at the time who was mature for my age, but not necessarily mature in terms of romance. And I think that's a common theme — a lot of young women who are mature in a lot of other ways are busy pursuing a lot of things and not necessarily doing a lot of dating. So I really related with the fact that the heroine is completely over her head when she meets this older man in Monte Carlo.
ON LOVING A "PULPY" BOOK
People criticize me when I say Rebecca is my favourite novel! They act surprised, and make comments about how they wouldn't expect somebody like me to love a book like that. And I get really defensive about it, because I think people throw opinions away too easily. So to those who say du Maurier's writing is pulpy, I say look — some people have a lot of stories in them, and they don't feel the need to speak above the populace, but to speak directly to the populace. To me, if it moves me, it moves me, and I don't really care about what the critics think.
Candy Palmater's comments have been edited and condensed.