Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Key To Rebecca

We've been doing a lot of WWII at home, what with watching The Battle of Britain and The Battle of the Bulge, and that prompteed me to dig out my well-worn copy of The Key to Rebecca. I always think this and The Eye of the Needle are amongst the best things that Follett has ever done. Many of his later books seem to tread a well-worn territory and wear a been-there-done-that look.

But 'Rebecca is really interesting - believably set in Egypt, which at the time was struggling for independence - and with an interesting cast of characters. Unlike many later and American thriller writers, Follet spends a lot of time detailing the background of each character and actually shows character development through the book - in a way that affects the denouement of the novel, which is always interesting.

'Rebecca is a really interesting spy novel, with its twists and turns and many points of suspense - Hitchcock would have loved filming it, and I can almost imagine it, with Ava Gardner playing Elene. I was reflecting later on the reason why many people are such WWII buffs and came to the conclusion that it was rather mythological in its construct - you knew who the good guys and the baddies were, the baddies got their come-uppance, and there were many Homeric heroes and tragedies enroute to the final victory.

The current situation with terrorists is much harder to engage in - firstly because there's no end in sight. In a way, terrorism can be likened to the Hindu demon, Raktabeejasura. Any time anyone fought him, with each drop of his blood that was spilled, a thousand more Raktabeejasuras sprang up, finally requiring a Bhadra Kali who came, fought him and drank up all his lifeblood.

Am tempted to read something comforting again, like Eye of the Needle!


Sharad said...

I am a huge Follet fan...

I am really suprised that you have got over 5000 books in ur personal collection.

I am an avid reader too... Nice to see you blogging... will keep visiting.

bird's eye view said...

Hi Sharad,

Sorry to be responding so late, but have been very occupied with other things. but hopefully am back to book blogging as well this year!