Unreliable narrators: Rebecca
By Flynn Berry
My novel, Under the Harrow, is about a woman, Nora, investigating her sister’s murder. As the police inquiry unravels, Nora becomes obsessive and reckless. Some of my favorite books have unreliable narrators, who are duplicitous, volatile, and thrilling.
The unnamed narrator in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier seems complicit in the mystery at the center of the book—the death of the first wife. Rebecca drowned in a sailing accident; her husband identified the body; he remarried. After the wedding, our narrator moves to Manderley, a Cornish estate. Rebecca is still everywhere in the house: her favorite flowers fill the rooms, and her stationery is still in the desk. Her bedroom has been left intact: “Those were her brushes on the dressing-table, that was her dressing gown and slippers laid out upon the chair.”
What electrifies the book is the narrator’s pathological jealousy of the absent first wife. Her fascination with Rebecca, and the sailing accident that caused her death, seems somehow guilty. “It must be cold sailing out there in the bay,” she thinks, “beyond the beacon away on the headland.”
About Flynn Berry
Flynn Berry is a graduate of the Michener Center and has been awarded a Yaddo residency. She graduated from Brown University. Under the Harrow is her first novel.
Under the Harrow
by Flynn Berry
Published by W&N (e-book - 14 June 2016)
When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel's familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.
Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can't return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can't trust them to find her sister's killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora's fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.
Read my review here.
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