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The Glass-Blowers de Daphne Du Maurier
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The Glass-Blowers (1963 original; edició 2004)

de Daphne Du Maurier (Autor)

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7611525,185 (3.63)56
'Perhaps we shall not see each other again. I will write to you, though, and tell you, as best I can, the story of your family. A glass-blower, remember, breathes life into a vessel, giving it shape and form and sometimes beauty; but he can with that same breath, shatter and destroy it' Faithful to her word, Sophie Duval reveals to her long-lost nephew the tragic story of a family of master craftsmen in eighteenth-century France. The world of the glass-blowers has its own traditions, it's own language - and its own rules. 'If you marry into glass' Pierre Labbe warns his daughter, 'you will say goodbye to everything familiar, and enter a closed world'. But crashing into this world comes the violence and terror of the French Revolution against which, the family struggles to survive. The Glass Blowers is a remarkable achievement - an imaginative and exciting reworking of du Maurier's own family history.… (més)
Membre:SuzieEN
Títol:The Glass-Blowers
Autors:Daphne Du Maurier (Autor)
Informació:Time Warner Books Uk (2004)
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The Glass Blowers de Daphne du Maurier (1963)

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Using her own family history as inspiration, Du Maurier gives us the aging Sophie Duval, who has promised her nephew that she will tell the story of their family, starting with her mother marrying into the local community of glass blowers.

The story starts with Sophie's mother getting married in the 1770s in rural France, where the glass blowers are situated beside the forests that provide the fuel for the furnaces.

Sophie herself gets married in 1788 in a joint wedding with her younger sister. It's not long before the issues building up in Paris spills out into the countryside. The storming of the Bastille and other important events is told via gossip and second hand scare mongering as panic spreads across the land, and thieves and brigands are seen in every shadow, ready to burn crops and steal wood.

Over the next few years, we see how the revolution happening in the bigger towns and cities filters down into the countryside, where neighbour can turn against neighbour and family fortunes can be made and lost by a word in the wrong place.

Sophie's family is directly affected where one brother, who gambles with his money and reputation, emigrates to England having been declared bankrupt too many times, and stakes his living (badly) with the other french emigres.

Pierre becomes a notary, Edme works first with Pierre and then Michel as local leaders in the revolution. Both men die in their old age, tired and worn out, and Edme is left to continue her fight for a revolution that has long lost it's spark. Sophie lives into her old age where her nephew (Michel's son) has become the mayor of the local town and we're back to where the story started.

The book is sub-400 pages long in this edition, so this is not an in depth detailed look at the French Revolution. du Maurier has chosen some set pieces to highlight on and there is much that is told briefly (or not at all). Therefore this is not a book for someone looking for a non-fictionalised account of the Revolution, should be seen more as a lead-in story.

This is another example of du Maurier's skill is telling historical fiction, and should be much better known than it is.


( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
Set in 18th and 19th century France following Du maurier's ancestors family as glass blowers and how her generation came to live in England and what happened to the families during the French revolution. Well told, with interesting insights into the politics of the time. ( )
  ElizabethCromb | Feb 8, 2022 |
This week is #DDMReadingWeek hosted by Heaven Ali and I needed very little encouragement to dig out some titles by Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1989) from the TBR. I read the Cornish novels Rebecca (1938), Frenchman's Creek (1941) and Jamaica Inn (1936) a good while ago, and more recently though not reviewed here The Parasites (1949), and The Flight of the Falcon (1965). On my blog there are reviews of Rule Britannia, (1972) and The Scapegoat (1957).
I chose to read The Glass-Blowers (1963) because it's the saga of an 18th century family in France during the Revolution, and it's a persuasive refutation of the idea that Du Maurier was 'just' a romance novelist. For a convincing article about the belated recognition of Du Maurier's place in the pantheon of English writers, see this article at Five Books.

It was from the article at Five Books, that I realised that the characterisation of Robert-Mathurin Busson du Maurier in The Glass-Blowers owed something to Du Maurier's biography, The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë, published just three years earlier in 1960. According to Oxford University's Laura Varnam:
In the preface to her biography, du Maurier says the trouble with Branwell is that he couldn’t distinguish reality from fantasy. That’s why she calls the biography the ‘infernal world’ of Branwell Brontë, (1960) borrowing a phrase from Charlotte—he was completely taken over by this imaginative life and it ruined him.

[...]

It is this story about the relationship between imagination and fantasy. He doesn’t always make the best of the opportunities he’s given and he allows himself to be taken over by his imaginative world. [...] He mythologises his own failure.
Surely this is the genesis of Robert's story as narrated by his sister Sophie? He is his own worst enemy, as Branwell Brontë was, and he invented an entire history to mask his own shortcomings.

The novel begins in 1844 after Robert's death when a chance meeting in Paris leads to Sophie's meeting with his adult son, newly arrived from London and in search of his French origins. Louis-Mathurin Busson introduces himself as the son of a man who—en route to restoring the family fortune lost during the Revolution—died tragically in 1802 after the Peace of Amiens (when Britain recognised the French Republic). Sophie reveals herself as his aunt, and sets him straight about his illusions. 'Your father Robert was first and foremost the most incorrigible farceur I have ever known' she says, and departs, promising to write to him with the true story. Four months later, with the bulk of this novel forming her narrative, she puts down her pen...

That narrative begins in 1747 when the outsider Magdaleine Labée marries into the closed community of glass-blowers in the village of Chenu. In time, through hard work and a willingness to learn, she earns the respect of the community, and bears five surviving children. Each of these represents a response to the revolutionary fervour which gripped France in the 18th century...

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2020/05/17/the-glass-blowers-by-daphne-du-maurier/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | May 17, 2020 |
The Glass-Blowers
by Daphne du Maurier
1963
Doubleday
4.0 / 5.0

Daphne du Maurier, no matter if itś fiction or non-fiction, brings a certain charisma and energy to her books that is completely addicting.
This historical fiction is loosely based on her ancestors, exploring her French history, esp. during the French Revolution.
It begins with the story of Robert Busson, a master glass maker who emigrated to England around the time of the French Revolution to avoid being sent to prison for his debts. Once in England, he changed the name to du Maurier, after his birthplace. It is narrated by Roberts sister, Sophie Duval, for their long-lost nephew, so he would know the history of his fatherś family.
Dry, but recommended. ( )
  over.the.edge | May 20, 2019 |
Loved it. I have always du maurier's books and this was no different. An excellent story of a family caught in the french revolution and how it shapes their attitudes towards life. Highly recommended for du maurier's fans. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
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Maurier, Daphne duautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Kretser, Michelle DeIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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To my forbears, the master glass-blowers of la Brulonnerie, Cherigny, la Pierre and le Chesne-Bidault.
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One day in the June of 1844 Madame Sophie Duval, nee Busson, eighty years of age and mother of the mayor of Vibraye, a small commune in the departement of Sarthe, rose from her chair in the salon of her property at le Gue de Launay, chose her favourite walking-stick from a stand in the hall, and calling to her dog made her way, as was her custom at this hour of the afternoon every Tuesday, down the short approach drive to the entrance gate.
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'Perhaps we shall not see each other again. I will write to you, though, and tell you, as best I can, the story of your family. A glass-blower, remember, breathes life into a vessel, giving it shape and form and sometimes beauty; but he can with that same breath, shatter and destroy it' Faithful to her word, Sophie Duval reveals to her long-lost nephew the tragic story of a family of master craftsmen in eighteenth-century France. The world of the glass-blowers has its own traditions, it's own language - and its own rules. 'If you marry into glass' Pierre Labbe warns his daughter, 'you will say goodbye to everything familiar, and enter a closed world'. But crashing into this world comes the violence and terror of the French Revolution against which, the family struggles to survive. The Glass Blowers is a remarkable achievement - an imaginative and exciting reworking of du Maurier's own family history.

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