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Castle Dor by Arthur Quiller-Couch

Castle Dor (1961)

by Arthur Quiller-Couch, Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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  Carole-Ann | Aug 16, 2014 |
As a child I remember my maternal grandfather had a reasonably well stocked library and in it included most of the works of Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q). So it was with some interest that I discovered that this book had been started by Q and finished by du Maurier at the behest of Q's daughter so was intrigued as to how this collaboration would work.

Firstly let me say that it appears seamless and it is hard to see which author wrote what (good or bad depending on your taste) although there did seem a noticeable quickening in the pace towards the end.

A chance meeting between Linnette LeWarne,a pretty but haughty young woman recently married to a much older man but still with dreams of romance, and a Bretton onion seller Amyot leads to an unlikely romance when Amyot rescues Linnette and her husband from a run-away coach accident with predictably disastrous results. This is interspersed with some good old Arthurian legends of a similar love affair between Tristan and Iseult.

The prose was generally excellent,the Cornish scenery was wonderfully portrayed particularly as the mist descends for the final curtain call as was the evocative easy going way of life therein. Although being Cornish myself may have some reflection on my opinion here. But that said at times it was fairly pedestrian almost scholarly in pace at times. Also there did seem an over reliance of an interest and knowledge of the Tristan Iseult affair which held back the overall feel of the novel IMHO.

On the whole I found this was an interesting collaboration if nor overly gripping one. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Aug 12, 2014 |
A rather less read du Maurier book -- fascinating, seeing her continuing someone else's work. And I agree with the introduction that it's hard to tell where she picked up the story: there's a shift somewhere, I think, in the tone of the beginning and the tone of the end, but it all flows smoothly enough.

I can't really give it four stars in terms of enjoyment, because I thought some of the parallels with the Tristan and Iseult story were overlaboured, and all the details of geography meant little to me (you'd think it would be more interesting to me, given my research into the Arthurian legends, but actually I have very little interest in whether they're fact or fiction) -- it didn't add to the story, for me, because I didn't need to think that Linnet was somehow descended from La Belle Iseut's family or that Mary might be descended from Isolde of the White Hands. I quite like the replaying-old-stories trope, and to me it's closeness of feeling and mindset that works best to connect the characters, not blood kinship diluted over hundreds of years.

Anyway, despite that, I actually found it more of a page turner than most of du Maurier's other works. I'd open it up and look up what I thought was five minutes later to discover that an hour had somehow passed. I can't put my finger on exactly why this was, but I enjoyed the book, anyway. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Castle Dor was the last unfinished work of the critic Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and finished (at his daughter’s request) by Daphne Du Maurier after his death. The novel is a modern retelling of the Tristan and Isolde myth, re-set to Cornwall of the 1840s. Linnet Lewarne is a young woman married to an innkeeper; she strikes up a relationship with a Briton onion seller named Amyot Trestane. Although not written from the first person point of view, the center viewpoint is that of the village doctor, who recognizes how history is repeating itself, literally.

Du Maurier did a fairly good job of finishing the novel—you can’t tell where Quiller-Couch’s writing leaves off and Du Maurier’s begins. She later wrote that she could never hope to imitate Quiller-Couch’s style of writing, but that she tried to adopt his “modd;” still, this wasn’t one of the best books that she’s put her pen to. Because the story is told from an “outside” point of view, we don’t really get that of the main two characters, so it’s hard to assess their motives.

In fact, the main character of the book is Doctor Carfax, who, as Du Maurier put it, serves as a kind of Prospero, helping move the events of the novel along while not really being a part of them. One gets the sense that all of these characters are involved in something much larger than themselves, something much beyond their control, and there’s a fairly wonderful kind of atmosphere to that effect. Although I had some reservations about this novel, it’s interesting to see how two writers—one a critic of literature, the other considered a “romance” novelist—coincide, and how they were able to create one cohesive novel. ( )
2 vote Kasthu | Mar 2, 2013 |
"Not in your world.....but in some borderland of buried kings and lovers". Linnette Lewarne, married to a much older man, meets Breton Amyot by pure chance and their fates are forever sealed as they begin to relive a past that has happened time and time again through the centuries - that of Tristan and Iseult. Doctor Carfax watches from the sidelines as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together with that of the legends and ends with a race against time to stop the legend from repeating itself into tragedy once again - all culminating in a on a very foggy Cornwall All Hallows E'en. Is the good Doctor in time or not?

Well you know me, I don't tell. Castle Dor, unfinished at the death of author Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch ("Q"), was completed by Du Maurier at the request of his daughter. A bit slow and dry at the start (I've not read anything from "Q" before, nor am I all that familiar with the legends of Tristan and Iseult), but a good finish, albeit not the strongest. If you're big into the legends of T&I I'd go for it, but Du Maurier fans will probably be disappointed - the parts she contributed at the end are minimal and not her usual style. ( )
  Misfit | May 10, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Quiller-Couch, Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
du Maurier, Daphnemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bawden, NinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevillion, MikeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Awards and honors
You and I an Amyas,
Amyas and you and I
To the green wood must we go, alas!
You and I, my lyf, and Amyas.
William Cornish
It was my father's intention
to dedicate this book to
Mr and Mrs Santo of Lantyan
First words
Castle Dor is a double find for me. (Introduction to this Edition)
Many years ago, in the early 1840s, on an October night very clear and lustrous, a certain Doctor Carfax stood entry with a field-telescope upon the earthwork of Castle Dor in Cornwall. (Prologue)
A local poet - a native of Troy who died young - left an imperfect poem in manuscript. (Epilogue)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Both a spellbinding love story and a superb evocation of Cornwall's mythic past, Castle Dor is a book with unique and fascinating origins.

It began life as the unfinished last novel of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, the celebrated 'Q', and was passed by his daughter to Daphne du Maurier, whose storytelling skills were perfectly suited to the task of completing the old master's tale.

The result is this magical, compelling recreation of the legend of Tristan and Iseult, transplanted in time to the Cornwall of the last century. A chance encounter between a Breton onion seller, Amyot Trestane, and the newly-wed Linnet Lewarne launches their tragic story, taking them in the fateful footsteps of the doomed lovers of Cornish legend.
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Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch was born in Cornwall in 1863, and the county, its history, and its people were to have marked influence on his life and writing. His final, unfinished novel, 'Castle Dor', was completed after his death by another writer with strong Cornish connections, Daphne du Maurier.… (more)

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