Read The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier Celia Brayfield Online


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 century.Alternate cover is available here....

Title : The House on the Strand
Author :
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ISBN : 9781844080427
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 329 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The House on the Strand Reviews

  • Jean
    2019-04-24 10:52

    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 time.The 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 more exciting than Dick's life in the present. The reader quickly perceives that this novel is going to alternate between these two contrasting scenarios.A 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 more attractive than his real one, which is humdrum and stressful by turns. So which is more "real"?It is typical of Daphne du Maurier to make the more sympathetic main character male. She famously claimed that she wished she were a man, and certainly her portrayals of male characters are almost always more 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 out.By 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 novel.As Dick becomes more enmeshed in the events of the 14th Century, and more fixated on knowing what will happen, he begins to (view spoiler)[develop loyalties, and to confuse the two worlds. The "fantasy" world begins to seem far more 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 more 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, more 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)]At this point, towards the end of the story, du Maurier brings forward a minor character whom we have already briefly met; (view spoiler)[a Doctor Powell, who seems to have some expertise in psychoanalysis. He wheedles the true story from Dick - plus other deeply hidden issues from Dick's past - over the course of 5 days as Dick is recovering. He also discovers both that the drug is a very strong hallucinogen and that it can cause paralysis. He offers a very plausible explanation to both Dick and the reader; it is a flight of fancy, an exciting antidote to the stresses and difficulties of Dick's present life. The unknown factor remains as it is an untried drug. What effect it can have, or latent knowledge it could unlock in the brain is still uncharted territory. Dick swears that he has given the last of it to the doctor. The reader, of course, knows that there is still one dose left in the handle of the walking stick (but it is unclear whether Dick remembers this at this stage in his confused state.) (hide spoiler)]The stage is clearly set for three alternative endings. (view spoiler)[Will Dick now fully recover and make amends with his wife? There have been signs in the latter part of the novel that there is some reconciliation. Will he succumb to the paralysis we have been warned is a serious side-effect of the drug? Will he spontaneously find himself back in the 14th Century, as once happened before without further doses?(hide spoiler)]Daphne du Maurier has always excelled at story-telling. One of her biographers has indicated that her early efforts were appallingly misspelt and amateurish, necessitating a lot of assistance by editors. Some of the descriptive passages in the early novels are certainly rather hackneyed, and the dialogue clunky. Nevertheless she was driven to write, and dedicated herself to writing page-turners, often with a great element of suspense. She incorporated some marvellously sinister characters and often included aspects of the paranormal. The author resented her rather unfair reputation as a "romantic novelist", a reputation which perhaps was due in part to Hollywood, considering herself to be far more than that.In "The House on the Strand"the author has incorporated her deep love of Cornwall, of its history, of its sea-faring - even down to details such as making the children in the story enjoy the sailing pursuits she herself excelled at and loved so much. We feel involved with the characters and there is a great sense of place, an especial challenge since this has to define both of the worlds the main character inhabits. She is at the height of her game. It is a well-structured piece where the tension mounts nicely throughout in both aspects of the story. The mystery of what will happen next in the world of the past, where the facts learned from ancient records are invariably discovered after Dick's experience, is cleverly mirrored by the mystery of what the various forms of the drug will do next, and how much of Dick's experience is due to imagination, wish-fulfillment or some latent common memory in the human brain. To have developed and honed her skills to this mastery from such a dubious start is indeed quite an achievement. It makes for a riveting read.Addition 25/02/14:The House on the Strand is called "Kilmarth", and this is heavily based on the house where Daphne du Maurier spent the final years of her life, after having been forced to leave her beloved "Menabilly" in 1967. She has even given it the same name. In her imagination she filled the old basement with embryos in jars and other strange objects, and made the house rise above the foundations of Roger Kylmerth's fourteenth century dwelling. Here's an extract from an interview in 1977. She always maintained that for the period of the book she "got into" the viewpoint character. Many of her novels have finished with an unanswered question. Perhaps many of her ambiguities result from that. It is Daphne du Maurier's own view of the ending,(view spoiler)[ "What about the hero of The House on the Strand? What did it mean when he dropped the telephone at the end of the book? I don't really know, but I rather think he was going to be paralysed for life. Don’t you?"(hide spoiler)]

  • Elyse
    2019-05-19 11:57

    I read a CRAZY-GOOD-BOOK years ago called "Blinding Light", by Paul Theroux that "The House on the Strand", reminded me of at times. -CRAZY ....but addicting!!! IIn both books we get drawn into the main characters experience on a hallucinogenic drug. The tension-suspense- fantasy -is...... C R A Z Y!!! -- and GOOD!!!I 'admit' ---I liked Paul Theroux's book better a little better than Ms. Maurier --- as this book was a sloggy-slow start ... and got confusing in parts -but then got WILD-FUN again-- to the ending! "Blinding Light" grabbed ya by the balls immediately.....( but it 'did' get repetitive towards the end... so it had some flaws too) ""The House on the Strand" had some very unique time-travel twists - characters that come alive - and interesting medieval history - drug trips! Richard - the drug user--haha -is no DICK... he just idolizes his scientist friend Magnus....[danger ahead]!!Worth reading - but not my 1st choice du Maurier novel.

  • Phrynne
    2019-05-04 12:01

    Who would have thought that the words 'time travel' and 'Daphne du Maurier' would go together in one sentence? Nevertheless this is exactly what she has written in The House on the Strand and she does it very well indeed!I loved the Cornish setting, all those places I have been and seen and which Du Maurier loved so much. The main character time travels (or does he?) back to the fourteenth century to a place where he can observe events but cannot participate in any way. His biggest problem is that while he is "away" mentally his body is still in the present time and this presents a whole heap of dangers.I found the book slow going to start with and in fact the 14th century parts never really become gripping. However the current day story gets better and better and eventually ends in typical Du Maurier fashion.I enjoyed it very much indeed

  • Andrei Bădică
    2019-04-23 05:56

    " Nu m-a surprins convingerea lui Magnus că voi continua să-i fiu cobai. Acest lucru caracterizase prietenia noastră de-a lungul anilor, atât la Cambridge cât și mai apoi. Jucasem cum îmi cânta el, nu numai în escapadele compromițătoare din timpul anilor de studenție, ci și mai târziu, când drumurile noastre s-au despărțit, el urmându-și cariera, de biofizician și apoi de profesor la Universitatea din Londra, iar eu intrând în rutina searbădă a vieții de editură."" Stăteam treaz și mă gândeam ce scandal o să-i fac lui Magnus când o să vină. Grețuri, amețeli, confuzie, un ochi injectat, și acum sudoarea acră, și toate astea pentru ce? Pentru o clipă din trecutul îndepărtat care nu avea nicio legătură cu prezentul, nu ajuta cu nimic vieții lui sau vieții mele și era tot atât de folositoare pentru lumea în care trăiam ca un album cu tăieturi din ziare, aruncat în vreun sertar prăfuit."

  • Madeline
    2019-05-17 13:19

    Daphne du Maurier and time travel? Sure, let's give it a shot.That was my entire thought process when I decided to buy this from a secondhand bookstore last summer. Rebecca is terrifying and brilliant, and I figured that if du Maurier applied even a portion of her talent to this story, it wouldn't be half bad. And it wasn't. I still prefer Rebecca, but who doesn't.Our protagonist is Dick Young, and he's agreed to be part of an experiment done by his college friend, Professor Magnus Lane. Dick will live in Magnus's house in Cornwall and take the prescribed doses of a substance the professor has created, which will enable him to time travel. What is this substance, and how precisely does it work? Shhhhhhh...Not only does the substance transport Dick into the past, it transports him to a very specific past: when he takes the dose, he witnesses events that happened in the exact location he happens to be - except in the 14th century. We, and Dick, learn that the land around Magnus's house used to be owned by the Carminowe family, a group of nobles who, in addition to their own inter-family drama, were also involved in some skullduggery involving the throne of England. Dick's unknowing guide is Roger, a steward working for the family. For reasons that are, unfortunately, never explained, Dick always ends up near Roger when he travels back in time, and doesn't seem capable of wandering too far away from him when he's in the past. By following Roger, Dick meets the extended Carminowe clan, which includes a very bad man named Oilver Carminowe and his very pretty wife Isolda (the family is all siblings and in-laws and even with the family tree provided at the beginning of the book, I could never quite keep the characters straight in my head). You can probably guess where this is going - Dick becomes more interested in his trips to the past than his life in the present, and this has a disastrous effect on his own family. The drug has its downsides, obviously - first, when Dick is in the 14th century, touching anyone or anything will instantly send him back to the present (which, at least, means that we don't have to worry about Dick accidentally going Terminator on his own future). Also the aftereffects of the drug include nausea, temporary paralysis, and severe disorientation. While under the influence of the drug, Dick continues to walk around in a kind of stupor, and wakes up having no idea where he is. And on top of all that, the drug is extremely addictive. So it's a bad time all around. As you can see from my rating, overall I was "meh" on this one, but I'll admit that there were plenty of parts that had me engrossed. Like Dick, who gets only little bits of information at a time while he ping-pongs around in time, I was interested in learning just what Isolda's husband was up to, and what the consequences would be for her. Daphne du Maurier does dramatic tension and shady secrets like nobody's business, so Dick's obsession with the exploits of people who died centuries ago was understandable to me, because she made it fascinating. But still - three stars only. First, Dick is (wait for it...) a dick (RIMSHOT). He's clearly supposed to be unlikeable - the way he treats his wife and stepsons with either indifference or contempt was particularly charming - but that didn't make it easy to root for him. The trips to the past, while fun and interesting, are serious info-dumps and require the historical characters to keep doing that thing where they'll be talking to someone and say, "Well, as you know..." and then proceed to explain in detail exactly what this other person supposedly knows already. Ugh. But altogether, this ended up being a lot more engrossing and creepy than I expected - the fact that Dick can't touch anything while watching the Carminowe's makes him begin to believe that he's becoming some kind of ghost, and that the people in the 14th century are the ones who are really alive, while Dick and his family are only a kind of memory. At its best, The House on the Strand is a dark, Gothic story of a man slowly losing his grip on reality.

  • Sara
    2019-05-20 08:59

    Daphne du Maurier writes very deep books that masquerade as mystery/romances. No two are alike, and in this novel she steps into the world of time travel (or maybe she doesn’t). After all, have you ever read a du Maurier that didn’t pose more questions than it answered?We are taken into the world of Richard Young, a man who has reached a crossroads in life and is contemplating what his next step is going to be. His best friend, Magnus, a bit of a mad scientist, has loaned Richard his home in Cornwall for vacation. Magnus is experimenting with a drug he has developed, and he is not above using Richard as his guinea pig to test its effects. Just as we have stepped into Richard’s world by opening this book, when Richard takes the drug he steps into another world as well, the world of 14th Century Cornwall and the previous owner of Magnus’ house, a squire named Roger.To tell of Richard’s or Roger’s adventures would be to ruin the plot surprises, and this book if full of them. But some of the questions posed here are subtle but profound. Are we attached to the past through our genetic material? Do we have stored in our brains every memory of our ancestors, if we knew how to access them? What is the cost of addiction? Of escape into any reality that is not our own? What price does it cost us when we ignore our present lives to live in the past, the future, or just dreams? I find this quite relevant in view of how many people escape into virtual reality these days, but it could be as easy asked of those who bury themselves in books, I suppose. I had read this book many years ago, but found it was mostly new to me after so many years. It was as good as I remembered and no doubt more meaningful to me this go around. Nice to end the year with an old friend.

  • Misfit
    2019-04-30 09:07

    "We are all bound, one to the other, through time and eternity"While vacationing at the Cornwall home of old chum Magnus, Richard Young is convinced to act as guinea pig for his friend's latest experiment - a drug that enables the mind to travel into the past - although the body stays in the present. Richard's "trips" take him to the 14C where he is soon so wrapped up in the past that it becomes as addictive to him as a drug - or is it the drug itself that is addictive? Are the lives of those in the past so much more important that his wife and step-sons become a hindrance to his journeys? Did these people really exist or do they only exist in Richard’s mind? Although Richard's mind is in the 14C while on the drug, his body is not and as he walks in the footsteps of those in the past it leads him into some very close calls when his mind returns to the present. He could be standing anywhere - the middle of a road, on private property or in the path of an oncoming.......Nope, I'm not telling and to say much more gives the whole thing away - half the fun is the guessing and unexpected twists in the story. Although the segments in the 14C were well written they were a bit confusing to me at times, but don't spend too much time trying to sort those relationships out. IMO they were mostly background and the main focus were the parts in the present day. Du Maurier is superb and understated as always, and this one will definitely leave you guessing all the way to the very last page and beyond. 5/5 stars and highly recommended.

  • Enchantressdebbicat ☮
    2019-05-11 13:10

    I began this on an out of town trip. I have been totally smitten with Daphne lately. Saw this on audible. I had a credit. I figured it would be good listening driving down the road. I wish I had gotten Frenchman's Creek instead. I hate to take anything away from those who love all things Daphne. I myself was thinking to set out and read all of her writings. I did like the initial descriptions of the setting, the Cornish Coast, the time travel. I just could not handle all the experimentation and animal slaughter references. (view spoiler)[ when the guy said he killed the monkey (who he was also experimenting on by giving the drug to...but he didn't want to wait any longer and killed him so he could get to his brain)...I just came undone sort of. It was very gruesome in description.(hide spoiler)] It turned my stomach. So, not a good listen for being on the road heading out of town for funeral. Will I pick it up again? Maybe. If I come across a print edition...I'd like to know how it ends. But for now I just wanna put this one behind me and pick up something lite and funny. Marking as a DNF. I am so disappointed.Update: Sept. 21, 2017I came across a BBC radio theatre adaptaion of this on you tube today. I began listening. It was quite good and I really wanted to know how this book ended. I listened to the whole thing...unable to let it go until another time. I highly recommend it! This is quite a story of time travel and tripping. Goodreads friend, Jean Naylor, has the most incredible review and filled in any gaps I think might have missed skimming the book bc there were parts that I just didn't feel comfortable reading. It's quite an addictive listen. But so is the "drug" than enables the character, Dick, to move back and forth from the past (1400's Cornwall) to the present. Once I finished the you tube listen...I was a bit puzzled by the ending. I went to my phone and still had the audio there and decided to listen to the last chapter on my commute. So glad I did! Just proves to me that sometimes a book is not right for you; but, later.....well, it very well might be.I imagine this was quite something when it came out originally. I am a very big fan of Daphne du Maurier. I'm so glad to have this resolution. I don't like leaving something unfinished. I sit with a smile on my face because I now know what happened.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-17 09:09

    An unusual DuMaurier in that it's a time-travel novel. I found it quite readable, but I could not make myself pay any attention to the complex relationships, housing arrangements and hierarchies of the 13th century characters--very odd, because I got the impression they were supposed to be so much more vivid and intense than the modern day characters. I had not before encountered the idea of time travel as an effect of inherited memory combined with hallucinogenic drugs... I liked the idea, it was believable, and yet something wasn't wholly satisfactory about the book--almost as though she didn't take the premise far enough. and also, perhaps, there were too many loose threads that didn't quite get tied up at the end.

  • Christine
    2019-05-08 13:12

    This book is a wonderful time travel story.When Daphne DuMaurier had to leave her home of 25 years, Menabilly close to Gribbin Head (the model for Manderley in "Rebecca") outside of Fowey, her husband signed a lease for another house close-by owned by the same Rashleigh family who owns Menabilly. So she moved to Kilmerth/Kilmarth shortly after her husband died (BTW her husband was Major Browning whose WW II quote "This was a Bridge too far" became famous and later even a book title).In the basement of Kilmarth DuMaurier found mysterious glass tubes from a scientist who used to live in Kilmarth before DuMaurier moved there. Legend has it that this is how she got inspired to write "The House on the Strand".Tywardreath, the small town mentioned in the book "The House on the Strand", does exist in real is not far away from Fowey...and there is a plate inside the church refering to the main character in another great historical novel that DuMaurier wrote, "The King's General".

  • Joe Valdez
    2019-05-01 11:17

    The next stop in my time travel marathon (November being Science Fiction Month) was The House on the Strand, the 1969 novel by Daphne du Maurier. I was delighted to learn that the author of Rebecca and The Birds had attempted to fuse one of her Gothic romances with time travel adventure and I had high expectations for this book. If written by anyone but du Maurier, it's unlikely I would've finished it. The author's depiction of how time travel could become an addiction and dissolve a modern marriage is compelling, but the most incredible thing about the novel is how the scenes set in the distant past are nothing but one big information dump that made the novel a chore to read.The story takes place along the coastline of Cornwall, where farmhouses and vacation homes stand atop the ruins of manors and churches dating back 600 years. Richard Young, mulling the directorship of a New York publishing house that his American wife Vida has urged him to accept, is spending a week in the second home of his good friend Dr. Magnus Lane, a chemist at the University of London. Richard and Magnus met at Cambridge and in many ways, are closer than Richard is to Vida. While his wife and two stepsons spend the week in New York, Richard has been asked to test a drug Magnus has developed and imbibed, with peculiar results the chemist is desperate to verify with someone he trusts. Magnus' unnamed hallucinogenic apparently has the ability to send the consciousness of the user through time, where the traveler can observe, but not participate in or alter, the past of wherever their trip is taking place. For reasons the author never sufficiently explains, Richard and Magnus are sent back to Cornwall of the 14th century, where they become attached to a certain Sir Roger Carminowe, a scheming nobleman whose second wife Isolda Ferrers makes a striking impression on Richard. Du Maurier's time travelers retain all of their senses except for one, touch, and touching a living person will immediately eject them from their experience. One danger of the drug is that while the traveler is galavanting through the past, their body enters a drunken stupor of sorts in the present, making them vulnerable to things like roadways or bodies of water as they stumble about in a sleepwalk. An even more pressing danger are the addictive qualities of the drug, which Richard soon begins to experience. This creates problems when Vida and the boys return from New York and arrive in the village of Kilmarth, where Richard has secluded himself and become obsessed with the soap opera unfolding in the past. The marriage between Richard & Vida quickly hits the rocks as she detects something about her husband seems different.The House on the Strand isn't a bad novel. Du Maurier's writing is as sharp as a tack. Of her three considerable strengths -- character, dialogue and atmosphere -- two are well represented here. I liked how she contrasted the sort of stoicism between English men and the aggressiveness of American women without making Richard, Magnus or Vida into stock characters. With du Maurier, I'm always rooting for her women to work out their communication problems and expose the dark secrets of their men. The domestic suspense had me flipping pages to reach the end. As for the dialogue, the scenes set in the present all flowed very well. My problem with the novel is how poorly du Maurier integrated her love for Cornwall of the distant past with a compelling story. The scenes set in the bygone are an information dump, nothing more. The names and intrigue of the 14th century that du Maurier relates are simply a soap opera that her time travelers watch. They do no not participate in, alter the course of or encounter any risks in the 14th century. A time travel novel that ceases to be compelling once its characters travel through time would be considered a failure on any scale. The question is whether The House on the Strand should really be considered a "time travel novel" or not.The reason to read The House on the Strand are the present day scenes dealing with Richard's drug induced, loosening grip on reality and his slowly dissolving marriage. The material works far better as a "substance abuse" novel than a "time travel" novel. The escalating domestic tension and web of lies recalls Rebecca, where a wife suspects something from the past has taken hold over her husband. But the possibilities of time travel are never touched on at all and the scenes set in the past were ones I had to skim in order to finish the book. Without the vivid atmosphere du Maurier's more successful novels, I have trouble recommending this, but can.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-02 12:08

    Wonderfully eerie and entertaining book. I listened to an audio version that was really well produced. The musical interludes between each chapter actually heightened the spookiness.This is DuMaurier at her best. Set in Cornwall (which, haven't been there, is a really good setting for spooky stories. Lots of craggy coasts, dense fog and and end-of-the-earth feeling) in the early 1960's (maybe the late 50's but I can't look at the title page for a date because this is an audio book), the story is about two old friends experimenting with a psychotropic drug that allows timetravel "trips." The main characters make a clear connection to LSD and the medical, academic and recreational experiments with that drug. The drug in the book is an untested concoction made by one of the characters who is a scientist. Very fun to read about two rather stodgy middle-aged British men experimenting with drugs. The drug has some side effects that only become clear later in the book and make for a chilling but interesting story. The drug enables users to travel back in time but they always travel back the same place and are always following one particular person. The users are spectators only and cannot be seen or heard. I don't want to give anything away except to say that, of course, all does not end well. Like a lot of drug stories (and time-travel stories) the action seems to straddle the border madness and real life.A really interesting take on the idea of time travel and not too tech-ey -- I definitely wouldn't call this sci-fi.

  • Connie
    2019-05-21 09:06

    Professor Magnus Lane wants his friend, Dick Young, to try a time-travel drug while he spends his summer at Lane's historic Cornwall home. The hallucinogenic drug takes Dick on a "trip" to 14th Century Cornwall where he observes the upper class feuding, committing crimes, brewing sinister potions, and indulging in clandestine romances. Dick finds the drug very addictive, partly because 14th Century life is so much more exciting than his real life. Dick's marriage is rocky, he has recently resigned from his London job, and feels pressured by his wife to take a job in her brother's American company.Dick has no control over his location when he returns from his "trips" back into the 20th Century. The Cornwall landscape includes roads, railroads, cliffs, and the sea so each "trip" is very dangerous. Dick experiences increasing confusion, exhaustion, numbness, and nausea with each "trip". The professor doesn't know what effect the drug has on the brain. Dick is acting so strange that his wife wonders if he is seeing another woman.After the initial introduction to a large group of 14th Century characters that drags a bit, the book builds in suspense especially in the 20th Century story. There is a good sense of place, and the author has added some Gothic touches to the atmosphere. While this is not my favorite Daphne du Maurier tale, it's still very imaginative and well worth reading.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-22 08:05

    Du Maurier's time-travel novel did not cast the same spell on me that her short stories or Rebecca did, but it's a captivating tale nonetheless. And well, there must have been something at work as I noticed that each time Dick, the narrator, was about to go back in time, I'd get antsy and feel the need to close the book for awhile. His need for the drug, for the journey to his corner of Cornwall in the 1300's, is palpable and as clear as any drug addict's: the addiction, the high, the inevitable let-down upon return. Du Maurier conveys this so very well. And just as Dick's sense of foreboding increases with each journey back, I too, feared the worst... The ending seemed at first to be a terrible let-down, but no...there's more. True to her craft, her unerring sense of human nature, of psychology, Du Maurier does not disappoint. And here too, the marriage lacks; the real interest is to be found not with Dick's wife but with his friend Magnus and later, the physician. Between the two men the bonds are real and deep, truths are shared. Marriage seems to be a necessary (?) inconvenience, all too often a place for fakery.

  • Victoria
    2019-05-13 10:06

    Un roman très étrange, angoissant et mystérieux. Je ne l'ai pas vraiment aimé comme je peux aimer d'autres romans, avec mon coeur, puisque je ne me suis pas spécialement attachée aux personnages (la faiblesse du protagoniste m'a beaucoup agacée). Je crois en revanche que je me souviendrai très longtemps de son ambiance étouffante, dans laquelle le lecteur se sent perdu. Une expérience de lecture intéressante et pénétrante !

  • Amy Sturgis
    2019-05-04 14:05

    Du Maurier is a master of the Gothic, and this work of time-travel science fiction is one of her finest. Dick Young epitomizes modern man: disaffected and aimless, he is disillusioned with his chosen career and increasingly distanced from his wife and stepsons. His one real (and multi-layered) connection is with his former college mate Magnus Lane, now a dedicated biophysicist. Lane offers Young the use of his family home on the Cornish coast while Young works through his period of personal malaise; in return, Young agrees to serve as a guinea pig for the new drug Lane has been developing (and testing on himself). Lane believes this breakthrough drug has the potential to change the way humanity understands and experiences time.As Young doses himself, he finds his present-day reality (in which no one really seems to reach him) fading to the background and the fourteenth-century reality he witnesses (in which he cannot touch anyone) gaining in importance. Du Maurier effectively traces Young's psychological descent as he takes ever greater risks to escape from his time into the past that has become his obsession. The sense of horror and dread grows as Young muddles and confuses the two worlds.The ending -- for Young, for Lane, and for the experiment -- is perfection.Du Maurier's work is elegant and streamlined. Every word has a role, and every description speaks volumes. This bleak and unflinching study of the human condition rewards every rereading I give it. It remains a devastatingly powerful story and a favorite of mine.

  • Fiona
    2019-05-05 12:01

    Daphne du Maurier wrote a novel with time travel in it and you guys didn't even tell me.

  • Vanessa
    2019-04-23 10:55

    3.5 stars.

  • Mark
    2019-04-23 10:57

    It helps that I grew up very close to the locations featured in The House on the Strand, and perhaps that's one of the reasons for my particular fondness for this tale of love and longing.The storyline weaves brilliantly between the twentieth and fourteenth centuries, with the hero, Dick Young, experiencing a grand passion for the unhappy Isolda, the enigmatic, medieval opposite of his mundane twentieth century wife, Vita.I recently read Margaret Forster's biography of Dame du Maurier and noted that in general Dick's character was not much liked. That took me by surprise for I had conceived a much stronger irritation against Vita, against the good doctor, in short against everyone that stood between Dick and his trips back into the past. I felt that I understood and commiserated his position, there seemed something very "Edward and Wallis" about his being under the thumb of his American wife, with her obvious longing for parties and society; Dick dreamed only of remaining by the Cornish coast.A hauntingly beautiful paean to lost days, which left a lasting impression. A hugely underrated and little known work which, in my mind, is even more superior to du Maurier's most successful novel, Rebecca.

  • Cphe
    2019-05-22 12:52

    I couldn't with any certainty say that this book is on par with other books I've read by the author over the years, but I did end up enjoying it far more than I initially thought I would. The beginning was a little slow to gather momentum but once it did it was difficult to put aside. I loved the setting of Cornwall and the descriptions of past and present. The overall "sinister aspect" was well done, this was compounded by the fact that Richard in his travels was an observer to events unfolding around him. He was "powerless" to act in any way on the outcome. The tug of war for Richard's loyalty, affection between the manipulative Magnus and Vita was believable and did keep the tension ratcheted.I found some of the relationships, characters in the medieval period to be a tad confusing at first, wasn't quite sure where they all fitted into the story overall. I didn't feel as though they were as well presented, or as developed as the present day characters.This is written with the author's readable style and delivery and if you are a Du Maurier fan, then it certainly is a "must read".

  • Laura
    2019-05-10 10:07

    Vow, each Maurier's book is able to surprise us even more!!! Dick Young is lent a house in Cornwall by his friend Professor Magnus Lane. During his stay he agrees to serve as a guinea pig for a new drug that Magnus has discovered in his biochemical researches. The effect of this drug is to transport Dick from the house at Kilmarth to the Cornwall of the 14th century.

  • Aparna
    2019-04-30 12:53

    A wonderful haunting tale of time travel...Highly recommended..Will surely be reading more of Daphne Du Maurier's stories..

  • Uncle
    2019-05-19 11:53

    The House on the Strand (published 1969) is the second to last novel of Daphne du Maurier. A prolific writer, du Maurier enjoyed enormous popularity with readers during her lifetime, though the critical reception to her books was often much cooler. Attracted to the natural wildness and violent history of Cornwall, du Maurier escaped there from the spotlight , and frequently used it as a locale for her novels.Dick Young is spending the summer at Kilmarth, the family home of his scientist friend Magnus Lane. The two men are conducting secret experiments with a drug developed by Lane. Once taken, the drug enables Young to travel back in time to 14th century Cornwall.His companion on these trips is Roger, a steward to the wealthy Champernoune family. Invisible to the people of the past, Young is able to observe the machinations of a small group of powerful aristocratic families. Mostly an unpleasant lot, these families use treachery, adultery, and murder to consolidate their power and status.Centuries apart, both Roger and Young are drawn in particular to the unhappily-married beauty, Lady Isolda Carminowe. Young's feelings for Isolda are obviously complicated by the facts that he is invisible to her, and that the lady herself has in fact been dead for six hundred years. But in the present day, the unexpected arrival of his brittle American wife further disrupts his visits to the past, and to the enigmatic Isolda. What follows is a somewhat weird and tragic love story. The House on the Strand is undoubtedly an offbeat novel about time travel and the strange relationship between the present and the past. Critics sometimes dismissed du Maurier as a writer of middlebrow, even gimmicky, fiction. Yet for all her faults, she was a brilliant story-teller. Even near the end of her writing career, The House on the Strand demonstrates du Maurier's ability to beguile the reader with a compelling and strange tale.

  • Penny
    2019-05-02 13:16

    Really quite a dreadful novel, though a page turner as Daphne du Maurier books tend to be. Guy called Richard takes a vacation at his friend Magnus's house in Cornwall. Magnus is a biochemist who has created a new drug and convinces Richard to try it: the drug transports Richard back in time 600 years to be an unseen witness of events among the minor nobility in 14th century England. Two stories unwind side by side, Richard in the present, and Cornwall in the 1300s. Both are a let-down. Richard has a perfectly nice wife, Vita, and stepsons about whom he appears to have no interest or affection whatsoever. Why does Vita put up with this guy? Most interesting part of the present-day story is thinking of its backdrop: The House on the Strand was published in the late 1960s, when people were experimenting with LSD and acid. Vita finds herself with a suddenly unknowable husband, distracted and distrait, who gets self-righteous when accused of drinking too much (he isn't, he's taking drugs, but because he never has before, Vita doesn't think to ask him about this). There have been other women in her same situation, before and since. Then there is old Cornwall, where we are introduced to a large cast of characters, all of whom are either siblings of, married to or sleeping with each other. They are all very hard to keep track of and trying to do so is like one of those LSAT puzzles: if Otto's sister's husband's cousin is married to Oliver's wife's brother, then who is Joanna? Some of the characters are portrayed as good guys and others as bad guys, but they seemed much of a muchness to me. And the resolution of the Cornwall story is astonishingly anticlimactic. Wish we could have had more Magnus, the genius inventor who originally discovered this second world. I'll read about a brilliant madman any day.

  • Angela
    2019-05-04 09:20

    The House On The Strand is a novel which draws together many of Daphne du Maurier’s talents as an author. We have an excellent story line; descriptions of the Cornish coast - an area which she knew well - and a feel for historical detail. All of these things give life to the story of Richard Young and his trips into the unknown.Acting as a guinea pig for his scientist friend, Magnus, Richard Young takes part in an experiment using a drug that has been developed by Magnus. The hallucinogenic drug takes Young back in time to the 14th century, where he quickly becomes embroiled in the lives of those he sees. These characters are unaware of his presence, but their influence is felt in Young’s own life. The story is full of twists and turns, moving effortlessly from present to past and back again. It is not completely clear whether Young is slipping back through the centuries, or merely hallucinating - this is left for the reader to decide. When I first came across this book , over 40 years ago, it had a significant influence on my reading and interests. Having read it again very recently, I think that The House On The Strand is still a powerful book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys an interesting, thought-provoking story.

  • Bob
    2019-04-25 14:21

    It's up to the reader to decide. The evidence is there for both points of view. Are we observing hallucinations or a window into the past? The pragmatist will side with the theory of chemically induced hallucinations. The romantic will side with the spiritual, a mind is opening a window to the past. Personally, sometimes I’m just an old softy, I like the romantic idea of a window to the past. It was interesting that du Maurier did not let our adventures off without suffering consequence for their experimenting. Magnus pays the most severe penalty, while we are left to wonder, how severe a price Dick Young will pay. It seems as if Daphne du Maurier believed drug induced pleasures invariably cost the user more than the pleasure they provide.This is an exceptionally good story and I highly recommend it.

  • Ivan
    2019-05-18 05:58

    I've read "Rebecca" and a number of Lady Browning's short stories (notably "The Doll," "Kiss Me Again, Stranger," "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now") and thoroughly enjoyed them. I've attempted some other novels and found myself unable to finish - they just ran out of steam for me. However, with "House on the Strand" that was not the case. This is a page-turner; a fascinating time travel novel set in Cornwall in the late 1960s. There is never a dull moment from start to finish; and even when the protagonist is being neglectful and deceitful with his wife and her sons, our allegiance is always with him. The story within the story is drawn in such a way that the reader wants our hero to hurry up and get back to it. I can't recommend this one enough.

  • Space
    2019-05-22 08:04

    I think this had potential to be a great story. Unfortunately, it just didn't culminate that way. First of all, there were a whole slew of characters introduced all at the same time. If you've read any of my reviews you've probably seen evidence that I don't like this very much. I find it hard to get to know that many people all at once. Furthermore, all these people from the past are remarkably intertwined by - well, I guess by marriage, brotherhood, et cetera. Let's just say du Maurier is as bad as George Lucas. EVERYONE is related. And that is so hard to follow. Bonnie is married to Roger, who is Bonnie's uncle's brother, who married Sally, who is Roger's mother's sister's aunt's cousin's neighbor from another marriage, who had two children - one of them being Roger's brother's mom's best friend's aunt's sister. And she's Bonnie's sister, too. Which is crazy because Bonnie and Roger are related by birth, but now married!Seriously. It's ridiculously complex. I don't feel like I should have to bring out a map of some family tree every time I sit down with a book. Therefore, I skimmed a lot of the names when reading. And that's sad. But it also leads me to my sixth point.I didn't really care. There was no reason I could find for me to believe that our protagonist, Young Dick, would really - wait. His name was Dick Young. Sorry. Okay so he takes a drug his friend concocted, and this enables him to view the past. But why did he get so addicted to going into the past? I mean, I know I would get addicted to viewing the past. But if what you're telling me in this book is the reason, I just don't buy it. All the interactions he encountered were pretty boring to me. And since it was so involved with who was married to whom, and all that, I lost interest real fast. I was like, seriously? He's watching people talk about horse radish crap that was more boring than reading lyrics to a Jessica Simpson song.Sadly, I had very high hopes for this, since the flap said he fell in love with someone in the 1300s, but any interaction he had with her caused him to snap back into his own time. That sounds fabulous! So what does Isolda (the woman with whom he falls in love) think of this? Oh. Well, she doesn't even know he exists. He can only view it. He can't actually interact or change anything. And no one can see him. Yawn. So what we end up with is a guy who's basically just witnessing events in this family's life from six hundred years ago. And they're normal events, just about as boring as the crap we go through every day. I'll pass.No mucking around with images here, I give it two stars all around. And on storytelling, that's generous.

  • Susan
    2019-05-08 09:07

    Interesting idea for a story - a man takes a formula and travels back in time and witnesses some events taking place around the area he lives in. However, is the past time real, is he hallucinating or as events seem to be blending together, is he slowly loosing his mind?Yeah, I thought that sounded like a compelling story, too. However, though quite a bit was good, I found the main character to be on the selfish side, treating his wife shabbily. On the other hand, the wife was a bit of a shrew, so neither characters were sympathetic and I couldn't relate to either.Then, when the 'reason' was revealed for the travel, I felt very let down. I think the author could have come up with a better explanation why this man was able to witness events that happened 600 years before.Finally, it just......ended. I thought I was missing a disc, but unfortunately, wasn't. Did I miss something? Not everything was resolved. I really dislike that in a novel.It could have been SO much better. So, all in all, the story was much ado about...nothing.

  • Leslie
    2019-05-11 12:59

    3 1/2 stars. An interesting plot, well-written but for some reason the narrator didn't ring true to me. Something about his narrative seemed feminine and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a man speaking. It also seemed a bit unbelievable that (view spoiler)[he didn't seem to worry about the risks he was taking wandering about with no awareness of the present-day conditions - even after his friend is killed and he is almost killed himself! (hide spoiler)]I did appreciate the deliberate ambiguity of the ending - we are left to decide for ourselves (view spoiler)[whether Dick has been time-travelling or just hallucinating (hide spoiler)].