17 comments on “Bookish Loyalty

  1. This is definitely a case where I would wait and read a ton of reviews before I even thought about picking the book up! Even though Go Set a Watchman is written by the same author as To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my favourite books) I still haven’t read it. I feel like she did not want to it to be published and I have heard it kind of ruins Atticus so I have avoided it!

    • That’s a great example. I did pick it up and whilst I thought it was interesting, it was definitely wrongly marketed as a sequel to TKAM. It was very obviously an earlier draft of what became the original book, with major plot points contradicted and, like you said, a pretty disappointing version of Atticus. I also can’t help but feel like Lee wouldn’t really have wanted it published, which is a real shame if true.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  2. I’ve had this same thought myself. The Millennium Trilogy, as an example, now another author has taken it on, I’m not sure, if I had been an avid fan from the start, that I would read these new books written by someone totally different!

    • It’s tricky, isn’t it? I read the original Millennium trilogy but haven’t felt any urge to pick up the new one. I think I would always worry that a new author taking on an existing book or series would end up feeling like fan-fiction rather than a proper continuation.

  3. Reminds me of the time I picked up Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley after having finished Gone with the Wind. And I must say that there is much beauty in the tragic open end of Gone with the Wind which somehow gets tainted because of the sequel.
    There’s much beauty to be found in tragedies, don’t you think?

    • I agree. I think if a writer leaves certain threads open, they did so for a reason, and that decision should be respected. There’s something special that comes from an ending that can both satisfy and leave the reader wanting more.

  4. For myself, I see no reason to mess with perfection. If a book is written so poorly that it NEEDS a sequel, when it was intended as a stand-alone novel, I guess it’s okay, though I doubt I would care enough about a story like that to bother with it. But a book like Rebecca does NOT need a sequel. The ending was absolute perfection. And I wouldn’t read one, because it couldn’t possibly match the brilliant, evocative, descriptive prose of du Maurier. Besides, I have always thought it rather presumptive for someone else to think they know what happened next for characters they didn’t create. I didn’t read the sequel to Gone With the Wind, written years later by another author, for that reason. And I would definitely not let anyone other than Daphne herself, returned from the grave, tell me more about the characters I know and love (or hate) from Rebecca. So, I guess my feelings on this are pretty strong. As we say around these parts, “If it ain’t broke, don’t FIX it.”

    • I quite agree. I see no reason why a writer should presume they have the authority to take control of someone else’s characters. I must say it feels to me akin to the current trend in Hollywood to remake every and any classic movie; whatever happened to original ideas?

      As for Rebecca as a specific example, I agree that its ending was pitched perfectly, and it is in fact the slight ominous ambiguity that makes it so unsettling and effective. To pick it up in an effort to tie up all the threads threatens only to dilute its impact, hence, I can only assume, why du Maurier herself left the story alone despite its success and popularity.

      • Yes, I agree. And you have to wonder what these great writers would say if they saw what someone else took it upon themselves to do with their stories and characters. Frankly, I can’t imagine a single one of them being pleased.

        And I agree on the remake of movies, ad nauseum. I’m not sure Hollywood would recognize an original idea today, if one walked up and smacked it over the head. But above all, beautiful works of literature should be left alone. That’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it! 🙂

        • Exactly. The details that authors leave unsaid are often as important as those they choose to include, so I also don’t see many authors being thrilled with other writers attempting to add to their story’s canon.

  5. I completely agree! Someone wrote a sequel to Les Miserables about Cosette and I will definitely never read that. If the new author has no insider insight into the original novel and characters, I sort of just see it as published fanfiction. Like, what makes that person the most qualified to continue the story, which usually doesn’t need continuing in the first place?

    For some reason I see Wide Sargasso Sea in a different category though, maybe because it’s become a classic in its own right? I’ve also heard that it’s quite feminist. I definitely intend to pick that up at some point.

    • That’s how I feel about it too. I just don’t think I’d ever see a new author’s continuation of a story as canon.

      Wide Sargasso Sea is an interesting one. I suppose because it’s a prequel rather than a sequel, and so doesn’t attempt to influence the final outcome of the story/characters, it feels more acceptable to me, haha. This is also where I have to admit I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet, so I suppose I’ll see how I feel about whether to pick up Wide Sargasso Sea or not once I’ve read the original text.

      • I’m sure you’re tired of people telling you to read Jane Eyre, but, you definitely should!! It’s one of my all time favorites. And that’s a good point about WSS being a prequel, maybe that’s also part of why I feel more tolerant of its existence than a lot of the fake sequels.

  6. REBECCA happens to be one of my all time favourites, and ’twas my very first Adult Fiction, aged 12&a half/13 !! I read MRS. DE WINTER, when I was about 19. Although nowhere as near as Daphne du Maurier’s original psychological masterpiece, I really enjoyed the sequel. Hill’s work might not be among my favourites, but it’s worth checking out.

    • Interesting to know you enjoyed both, that’s encouraging!

      I like Hill, I’ve read about 5 of her books and would definitely read more, I just don’t think I want anyone to meddle with Rebecca when it was so perfect in my mind 😋 I also would say that du Maurier really shines in her descriptive writing, which is lush and immersive, whereas I’ve always found Hill’s style very straight-forward and blunt, so I’m unsure how well their two styles would merge to create two books that feel united as one story.

      • Yes, but as I said I liked it, but didn’t LOVE it!!! Of course I read MRS. DE WINTER back in 94’/95′ !!!
        Think of it like this, it’s like watching a movie of a book you simply adore. Whether the film is excellent, pretty good, or pathetic; it won’t diminish your love for the book. Whether you love or dislike a movie, does not matter; your ‘loyalty’ to the original text shall remain.
        So whether you like the sequel or not; your love for REBECCA, shall never die!! ❤
        No harm in checking it out!! 😀

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