Report on The Page Turners Meeting - Meeting, Thursday, 7 March 2019

Two men walk into a bar. The first one says “Have you noticed how alike we are?” Thus starts Daphne Du Maurier’s tale of ‘The Scapegoat’. A week later the story is all over. Leaving in its wake a situation to be pondered and repercussions to be guessed at.
What would you do if you were able to swop your life with someone else for a week? The Scapegoat explores this very question. This particular swap was not chosen or agreed and the changed around lifestyles could not be more different from each other. The outward appearances of the two main characters belied their underlying personalities though. Each character having to take on the problems created by the other in their own environment.
One character had a more troubled time than the other. This may have been down to his caring, more thoughtful approach to life and his family. He succeeded in changing the lives of his “inherited” family, though not without death, trauma, and dramatic religiosity, as he slowly uncovered the circumstances of his real life doppelganger.
The book was written in 1957, and surfaced unexpectedly from the long list of Du Maurier’s work. She wrote a lot of books, including short stories, works about Cornwall and biographies. Some of her other work, for example, Jamaica Inn, (1936) My Cousin Rachel (1951) and Rebecca (1940) are set in “another space and time”. The Scapegoat is (for some of our group) more confusing than this. The setting is France, twelve years after The Occupation, but it could have been a Victorian melodrama. The cars do give the game away however.
The other challenge to the reader is that you have to suspend disbelief a lot. As one of our group said, “I had to make myself believe it was possible”. But if you are interested in expanding your horizon and trying a genre which would be difficult to categorise, the book did have a captivating hold on most of our group.
Our score is 8.4
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