Item description for The House On The Strand by Dame Du Maurier Daphne...
In this haunting tale, Daphne du Maurier takes a fresh approach to time travel. A secret experimental concoction, once imbibed, allows you to return to the fourteenth century. There is only one catch: if you happen to touch anyone while traveling in the past you will be thrust instantaneously to the present.
Magnus Lane, a University of London chemical researcher, asks his friend Richard Young and Young's family to stay at Kilmarth, an ancient house set in the wilds near the Cornish coast. Here, Richard drinks a potion created by Magnus and finds himself at the same spot where he was moments earlier--though it is now the fourteenth century. The effects of the drink wear off after several hours, but it is wildly addictive, and Richard cannot resist traveling back and forth in time. Gradually growing more involved in the lives of the early Cornish manor lords and their ladies, he finds the presence of his wife and stepsons a hindrance to his new-found experience. Richard eventually finds emotional refuge with a beautiful woman of the past trapped in a loveless marriage, but when he attempts to intervene on her behalf the results are brutally terrifying for the present.
Echoing the great fantastic stories of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, The House on the Strand is a masterful yarn of history, romance, horror, and suspense that will grip the reader until the last surprising twist.
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Format: Abridged, Audiobook
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 5.51" Width: 4.88" Height: 1.02" Weight: 0.49 lbs.
Release Date May 30, 2005
Publisher Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN 9626343419 ISBN13 9789626343418
Reviews - What do customers think about The House On The Strand?
Bizzarre, but one of the best time-travel stories Mar 23, 2008
Written long before the other time-travel stories out there, the lead character is a man who steps into the 14th century. But that won't stop you from empathizing if you are female.
Du Maurier's method of getting into the past is a drug, which was a timely topic at the original date of publication. A portal to the past was opened allowing the subject to see and hear the past, while leaving the body in the now. But that window once opened, is not easily closed and can be fatal.
I have recalled this story from time to time during my long life but had forgotten the title until I recently began picking around the old novels once more. This one is a good read and a little chilling at the end.
time travel and dodgy science in one of du Maurier's weaker efforts Mar 23, 2008
Oh yes, certainly. Everyone loves a story that involves time travel, romance, intrigue and beautiful scenery. 'The House on the Strand' has all this but, unfortunately, this reader was left unimpressed with it all. Why? Well, let's see...
The setting, Cornwall, wasn't the problem. It is rich in history, and its geography/topology is fascinating. The story, about a couple of men who regularly time travel back to the 1300s, was MOST incredulous but not especially dull. However the science behind all this was completely bonkers. Imagine, a British scientist discovers a mind-altering drug which transports people back in time mentally (but not physically) to a certain, inexplicably, important time in history. Subsequent doses transports them back to a slighter later point in time that, again inexplicably, is also pivotal in time. Why not transport them to back when everyone simply mulling around and milking cows or something. But nooooo.....! It had to be when a murder was about to take place or a plot to overthrow the realm was being devised. Thankfully du Maurier's fine prose and characterizations save 'The House on the Strand' from being a contrived mess.
Bottom line: easily one of the author's most dismal efforts. Not recommended.
Brilliant 'time travel' novel Nov 19, 2007
The House on the Strand is narrated in the first person by Dick Young, who is staying at his friend Magnus's house in Cornwall and agrees to become a guinea pig for an incredible experiment. Magnus, a brilliant biochemist, has invented a powerful drug which takes the user back to the early 14th century...at least, in his head. Dick wanders around the past, seeing and experiencing everything with great clarity, while his body remains in the 20th century. He is unable to touch anything in the past, and is invisible to the people he sees.
The novel is divided in time between the 1960s and the late 1320s and early 1330s. Dick's 'guide' in the 14th century is Roger Kilmersh, who used to live in the house where Dick is staying, and who is the steward of Lady Joanna Champernoune. All the characters in the fourteenth century, Joanna, Otto Bodrugan, Isolda Carminowe, etc, really existed.
Dick becomes increasingly fascinated and obsessed with the people he is watching, their political intrigues, extra-marital affairs and even murder. He lies to his wife Vita in order to take the drug and 'go back' in time to see them, despite the physical side-effects he experiences - intense nausea, vertigo, disorientation, and, increasingly, mental confusion between the past and the present. His eye becomes terribly bloodshot and his hand becomes numb. Also, because he is traversing a 20th century landscape while his head is in the 14th century, he is unaware of dangers such as crossing roads and railway lines, and often ends up trespassing on private property, bruised, soaking wet and cut to pieces by hedges, marshes and so on he is simply unaware of encountering. His friend Magnus suffers a terrible accident on a railway line that simply does not exist in the reality inside his head.
As in some of Daphne du Maurier's other novels, the Cornish landscape here is almost a character in its own right, and her descriptions of the differences between the 14th and 20th century landscapes are incredibly vivid. She is almost unsurpassed at creating atmosphere, and Dick's mental and physical deterioration, and overriding obsesssion with Isolda Carminowe and the other 14th century people, is utterly compelling.
I've read House on the Strand four times now, and I never get remotely sick of it. Every time, it grabs me right from the first page - the novel begins with one of Dick's trips to the past - and I get utterly caught up with the characters past and present. The 14th century is brilliantly depicted, and like Dick, I'm fascinated by their lives. This novel is crying out to be made into a film! Highly recommended.
A book I couldn't put down! Nov 3, 2007
This is a captivating story and one of my most favorite books. Although I didn't like reading Du Maurier's much more famous "Rebecca" (found the narrating heroine's whiny and insecure personality unbearable), I found this book addictive and finally understood why Du Maurier was so famous - She's a really great writer and story teller. Very unusual premises, extremely well plotted (none of the big gaps in plot or continuity, like in John Grisham's books), and great insight into people. The sections on the 14th century were so interesting! Like the protagonist, I also wanted to spend more time in the 14th Century rather than in the present! She pulls you into the very different lives and culture of the middle ages, while spinning in and out of their lives at different points with each of the hero's "trips". The life he sees there is so much more exciting that the real world he (and we all) live in, and Du Maurier shows his boredom, confusion and selfishness. I'm surprised that no movie's been made from this book - I think it'd be a great story. I've read this book several times over the years, and each time have enjoyed it so much that I had to read it straight through - truly the mark of a fun read!
Unusual Story Mar 15, 2007
I have read many Daphne du Maurier books. As I began this book, I started to get bored with the 14th century characters. Determined to finish the book, I took special note of the unusual names and locations in order to fully understand the various plots; and I finished the book with its surprise ending making it worth the while. As everyone knows, du Maurier is a great writer. Anyone that could dream this situation up has a great imagination.