The House on the Strand PDF Ç The House PDF \ on the

Dick Young is lent a house in Cornwall by his friend Professor Magnus Lane During his stay he agrees to serve as guinea pig for a new drug Magnus has discovered in his biochemical research the effect of which is to transport Dick from the house at Kilmarth to the Cornwall of the 14th centuryAlternate cover is available here


10 thoughts on “The House on the Strand

  1. says:

    Quite a few of Daphne du Maurier's novels and short stories have been made into films and this is how many people have come to discover her work The House on the Strand is one of her lesser known novels the penultimate novel by Daphne du Maurier from 1969 It is an unusual work about time travel and mind expanding drugs themes which could be thought of as apposite for the timeThe author thrusts us straight into the action with a beautifully written and vividly descriptive episode The viewpoint character Dick is in the middle of a trip to use the popular vernacular of that period After a few pages it becomes evident that Dick has been transported back to 14th Century Cornwall where the people and events are far exciting than Dick's life in the present The reader quickly perceives that this novel is going to alternate between these two contrasting scenariosA nice touch in this novel is that for most of the time it is not clear whether this is due to artificially heightened perception mental time travel or an actual dislocation in time Neither Dick nor his friend Professor Magnus Lane who has formulated the drug are sure And the reader has an extra level of doubt because Dick feels trapped in his life He has recently resigned from a stressful job he feels he is being pushed to accept another similar job and his marriage is turning sour Naturally this colourful fantasy life seems far attractive than his real one which is humdrum and stressful by turns So which is real?It is typical of Daphne du Maurier to make the sympathetic main character male She famously claimed that she wished she were a man and certainly her portrayals of male characters are almost always fully rounded His wife Vita comes across as a rather unpleasant and very brittle upper class American a shallow depiction of a shallow character Her friends who visit are equally unlikeable through Dick's eyes although they and the children are not nearly so well fleshed outBy contrast we get a strong sense of the earlier historical characters and du Mauriers's love of history and of her beloved Cornwall is given full rein here We follow a swashbuckling tale of intrigues feuds and dastardly deeds through Dick's eyes with his experimental drug taking The locations are unpredictable as is the duration of each episode there are jumps in time although they do occur chronologically There is a family tree and a map for readers who want to become equally involved Each episode described is quite lengthy so that these historical chronicles take up quite a large proportion of the novelAs Dick becomes enmeshed in the events of the 14th Century and fixated on knowing what will happen he begins to view spoilerdevelop loyalties and to confuse the two worlds The fantasy world begins to seem far real to him although he also begins to realise that each time he travels he is not only ill afterwards but in danger too With help from historical records produced by Magnus he identifies some of the locations and realises that whenever he regains consciousness he could be anywhere and therefore at mortal risk The pace steps up nicely with the imminent arrival of Magnus and the reader has been well prepared for a tragedy about two thirds of the way through leaving the main character completely isolated Nobody save Dick would be able to understand what was happening or why Dick himself is becoming increasingly confused and his loyalties and perceptions of reality alter as he becomes addicted to the experience He says about the 20th Century world with his wife I felt revolted by the puppet world in which I found myself and desired no part of it neither now nor tomorrow nor at any time And then there is a further crisis as Dick in his confusion tries to actually kill his wife in this world mistaking her for the power crazy cruel Joanna in the fantasy world He is mortified by this act summoning help immediately yet he still yearns for the other exciting world of the past I had lost not only Magnus but the other world It lay here all around me but out of reach The people of that world would travel on in time without me and I must keep to my own course fulfilling God only knew what monotonous day by day The link between the centuries had gone hide spoiler