Monday, August 01, 2011

Five best psychos in literature

Mary Horlock is an authority on contemporary art who has worked at the Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool, and curated the Turner Prize for contemporary art. She spent her childhood in Guernsey, and lives in London.

Her novel The Book of Lies is now out from Harper Perennial.

For the Wall Street Journal, Horlock came up with a five best list of novels with psychos, obsessives and other loons.

One title on the list:
by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

Daphne du Maurier was not always considered a serious writer, but in "Rebecca" she would produce a fascinating portrait in jealousy that showed her skill at unpacking the human psyche. It also featured the towering, terrifying specter of Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper for Maxim and Rebecca de Winter until Rebecca's death. Mrs. Danvers's obsessive love for her dead mistress means that she cannot accept de Winter's new young and distinctly middle-class wife. ''I feel her everywhere,'' Mrs. Danvers insinuatingly tells the second Mrs. de Winter, the unnamed narrator. "You do too, don't you?" If the storyline seems too Cinderella-like, then Mrs. Danvers is the perfect witch of fairy tales—she gloats, she connives, she is a dark controlling presence that must ultimately vanish into smoke.
Read about another novel on the list.

Rebecca appears on Derwent May's critic's chart of top country house books.

--Marshal Zeringue