Book Beginnings: Honolulu and Rebecca

When I was a young child growing up in Korea, it was said that the image of the fading moon at daybreak, reflected in a pond or stream or even a well, resembled the speckled shell of a dragon’s egg. A dragon embodied the yang, the masculine principle of life, and it was thought that if a couple expecting a child prayed to the dragon’s egg, their offspring would be male. Of course, every family in those days desired a son over a daughter. Only men could carry on the family line; women were merely vessels by which to provide society with an uninterrupted supply of men. So every day for months before I was born, my parents would rise before dawn, carrying offerings of fresh-steamed rice cakes to the stone well behind our home, as the sky brightened and snuffed out the stars. And they would pray to the pale freckled face of the moon floating on the water’s surface, pray that the child growing inside my mother’s womb would be a boy.

I am just over two CDs into the 14-CD audiobook version of Honolulu by Alan Brennert. And I wish I could let you read that much, because I have loved the book so far. Ali Ahn has such a melodious voice, and the writing is simply fantastic.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive would away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was narrow and unkept, not the drive that we had known. At first I was puzzled and did not understand, and it was only when I bent my head to avoid the low swinging branch of a tree that I realised what had happened. Nature had come into her own again and, little by, little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers.

And this is the amazingly haunting beginning of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I’m not as far into this book, but I did watch the film last fall and found a certain character very creepy. I don’t remember many details, but I have the general plot in my memory. I’m hoping the book is a bit more spooky than the film, which I thought would be spookier.

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Book Beginnings is a weekly meme, hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages.
How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday.

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One thought on “Book Beginnings: Honolulu and Rebecca

  1. Katy says:

    Honolulu is on my wishlist – it sounds like such a lovely book. And I really liked Rebecca earlier this year! I hope you enjoy it as well!

    Thanks for participating in Book Beginnings!

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