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The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
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The Scapegoat (1957)

by Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1693910,598 (3.91)163
  1. 20
    The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (BonnieJune54)
    BonnieJune54: The main characters are similar and they are both going through dual lives.
  2. 10
    Don't Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier (jigarpatel)
    jigarpatel: More psychological thrillers, expertly adapted to the short story format (my review).
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» See also 163 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
It's not fashionable to be a guy and love Daphne du Maurier. She has a reputation for Gothic romance, largely built on her masterful Rebecca, mysterious My Cousin Rachel and unashamedly chick lit Frenchman's Creek. The Scapegoat is an excellent example of why she transcends such categorisation.

The plot is simple: two men who look and speak alike bump into each other and swap places. We follow the journey of a depressed British historian replacing an obnoxious French businessman. As the novel evolves, we learn about the history, familial, business and political, which defines the relationships around his new identity. The two men, alike and apart, reflect a duality on the surface as disparate as Jekyll and Hyde but at times eerily aligned.

Du Maurier writes in her typically direct style. The protagonist's actions speak for themselves. While dark and psychological, the novel offers little explicit analysis into his motivation. Like My Cousin Rachel, the minimally burdensome onus is on the reader to develop their own opinions.

If you enjoy this novel, try also Don't Look Now and Other Stories. ( )
1 vote jigarpatel | Feb 27, 2019 |
Loved it.
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
Strange, compelling little novel about two identical strangers (one of whom, of course, is a scoundrel) who switch lives. ( )
1 vote KLmesoftly | Nov 18, 2018 |
The Scapegoat
by Daphne DuMaurier
1942
PS Library

This is one f my favorite DuMaurier novels, and I am constantly debating myself about if this book is about impersonation in itself, or through psychological idioms..... Schizophrenia, mid life crisis.........The book begins when John , a wealthy Englishman goes on a holiday trip to France. Here he meets a man who is his double, Jean. They go for a drink but John drinks too much and wakes up in a hotel room, eventually realizing that Jean has disappeared, and so has everything he came with, including is identity documents. John cannot come to any conclusions to convince him of what has happened and ends up being chauffered to Jeans home. He is expected to continue his families business of glass making and shooting parties, things he knows nothing about and has no interest in learning. It soon becomes evident that Jean is using John as his Scapegoat; Jeans family and business are both in shambles and John is left with the mess

DuMauriers use of suspense and surprise are evident throughout the novel, and her engaging characters are easy to like and follow. Her use of atmosphere, and her ability to make you feel as though you are part of the book make this, as well as most of her novels, a fantastic story. ( )
1 vote over.the.edge | Sep 18, 2018 |
I read this book after three awful classics (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Awakening, and Death of a Salesman) so I was especially relieved to find I'd picked up an excellent book worth rereading, finally. In this story, a man assumes another man's identity and swaps him places, and both men get to start fresh with just what the other man had, to make a better life for himself than he was living before, or at least to make the best of what he has available. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
du Maurier, Daphneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appignanesi, LisaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cardi, Alma ReeseDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scarpi, N. O.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Scapegoat, Daphe du Maurier's eleventh novel, first appeared in 1957.
I left the car by the side of the cathedral, and then walked down the steps into the Place des Jacobins.
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Book description
VIRAGO EDITION:
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 stupor. It is 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 château, 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 the dark side of the self.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081221725X, Paperback)

"Someone jolted my elbow as I drank and said, 'Je vous demande pardon,' and as I moved to give him space he turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realized, with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well.

I was looking at myself."

Two men—one English, the other French—meet by chance in a provincial railway station and are astounded that they are so much alike that they could easily pass for each other. Over the course of a long evening, they talk and drink. It is not until he awakes the next day that John, the Englishman, realizes that he may have spoken too much. His French companion is gone, having stolen his identity. For his part, John has no choice but to take the Frenchman's place—as master of a chateau, director of a failing business, head of a large and embittered family, and keeper of too many secrets.

Loaded with suspense and crackling wit, The Scapegoat tells the double story of the attempts by John, the imposter, to escape detection by the family, servants, and several mistresses of his alter ego, and of his constant and frustrating efforts to unravel the mystery of the enigmatic past that dominates the existence of all who live in the chateau.

Hailed by the New York Times as a masterpiece of "artfully compulsive storytelling," The Scapegoat brings us Daphne du Maurier at the very top of her form.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:15 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Two men--one English, the other French--meet by chance in a provincial railway station and are astounded that they are so much alike that they could easily pass for each other. Over the course of a long evening, they talk and drink. It is not until he awakes the next day that John, the Englishman, realizes that he may have spoken too much. His French companion is gone, having stolen his identity. For his part, John has no choice but to take the Frenchman's place--as master of a ch?ateau, director of a failing business, head of a large and embittered family, and keeper of too many secrets. Loaded with suspense and crackling wit, The Scapegoat tells the double story of the attempts by John, the imposter, to escape detection by the family, servants, and several mistresses of his alter ego, and of his constant and frustrating efforts to unravel the mystery of the enigmatic past that dominates the existence of all who live in the ch?ateau.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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