Thursday, 17 July 2008

Jamaica Inn

Title: Jamaica Inn

Author: Daphne du Maurier

Number of pages: 267

Started: 14 July 2008

Finished: 17 July 2008

Opening words:

It was a cold grey day in late November, The weather had changed overnight when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o'clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold, and for all the tightly closed windows it penetrated the interior of the coach. The leather seats damp to the hands, and there must have been a small crack in the roof, because now and again little drips of rain fell softly through, smudging the leather and leaving a dark blue stain like a splodge of ink. The wind came in gusts, at times shaking the coach as it travelled round the bend of the road, and in the exposed places on the high ground it blew with such force that the whole body of the coach trembled and swayed, rocking between the high wheels like a drunken man.

The driver, muffled in a greatcoat to his ears, bent almost double in his seat; in a faint endeavour to gain shelter from his own shoulders, while the dispirited horses plodded sullenly to his command, too broken by the wind and the rain to feel the whip that now and again cracked above their heads, while it: swung between the numb fingers of the driver.

Plot summary:

Jamaica Inn tells the story of the 23-year-old Mary Yellan, brought up on a farm in Helford in the early 1800s, but who is forced to go live with her Aunt Patience after Mary's mother dies. Patience is the wife of the keeper of Jamaica Inn, Joss Merlyn. On her arrival at the gloomy and threatening inn, she finds her aunt under the thumb of the vicious Joss, and soon realizes that something unusual is afoot at the inn, which has no guests and is never open to the public. Mary tries to squeeze the truth out of her uncle during one of his benders, but he tells her, "I'm not drunk enough to tell you why I live in this God-forgotten spot, and why I'm the landlord of Jamaica Inn."
Summary taken from wikipedia.

What I thought:

I really enjoyed this book. It’s quite melodramatic but very engaging and I think I particularly enjoyed it because it was set in the part of Cornwall where I was staying at the time and so some of the places I had actually just been to. I thought it was a dark and foreboding plot that did really well at conjuring up images and a sense of doom. Really good read.

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