I'll Never be Young Again Paperback
Part of the VMC series
The iron of the bridge felt hot under my hand. The sun had been upon it all day. Gripping hard with my hands I lifted myself on to the bar and gazed down steadily on the water passing under ...I thought of places I would never see, and women I should never love.
A white sea breaking on a beach, the slow rustle of a shivering tree, the hot scent of grass ...I breathed deeply and I felt as though the waiting water rose up in front of me and would not let me go' As far as his father, an accomplished poet, is concerned, Richard will never amount to anything, and so he decides to take his fate into his own hands.
But at the last moment, he is saved by Jake, who appeals to Richard not to waste his life.
Together they set out for adventure, jumping aboard the the first ship they see and working their passage to Norway and around Europe, eventually to bohemian Paris, where Richard meets Hesta, a captivating music student ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 05/05/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781844080694
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Misfit
"But then dreams are apart from the business of living; they are things we shed from us gently as we grow older" Du Maurier's second novel begins in London as Richard (Dick) is snatched from attempting to take his own life by wanderer Jake. The two men strike up an instant friendship and begin a devil-may-care look at life and jump on the first ship leaving town and head for Sweden. They trek the mountains and party with tourists as a steamboat cruises the fjords until they finally end up in a brawl that sends them catching the first boat out of Stockholm - although that boat is destined for a fate that forever separates the two friends. Adrift again but no longer suicidal, Dick leads a shiftless life in Paris drifting from job to job as he dreams of becoming a writer like his famous father, until one day he meets young music student Hesta and they settle into a relationship - although Dick still shrugs responsibility and puts off writing his "great book". Dick eventually begins to mature through his relationship with Hesta, but the relationship becomes strained as Dick's influence in her life changes her from a sensible grounded student into a carefree partying drifter no longer interested in her music lessons. Ironic, isn't it? But so true to life - didn't we all hate our parents and do really stupid things when we were young? I believe this is the first time Du Maurier used her famous "male voice" and she shows remarkable insight into Dick's not so very likeable character (I did want to smack him on Hesta's behalf a few times). While not up to what she wrote in her later years, if you're a fan of Du Maurier's you might want to give this one a whirl - It’s one that will definitely stay with you for a bit as you reflect back on your own misspent youth. I almost gave it three stars, but then it _is_ Du Maurier after all. 4/5 stars.
Review by helen295
I'll Never Be Young Again was Daphne du Maurier's second novel, written when she was only twenty three years old. It's different from the other books of hers that I've read so far. It doesn't have the suspense or the gothic feel of some of her other works – this is more of a psychological, character-driven book. It's the story of Richard, a young man who has grown up in the shadow of his famous father, and his struggle to find his own identity. I'm not really a fan of 'coming-of-age' novels, b...more I'll Never Be Young Again was Daphne du Maurier's second novel, written when she was only twenty three years old. It's different from the other books of hers that I've read so far. It doesn't have the suspense or the gothic feel of some of her other works – this is more of a psychological, character-driven book. It's the story of Richard, a young man who has grown up in the shadow of his famous father, and his struggle to find his own identity. I'm not really a fan of 'coming-of-age' novels, but I'm glad I chose to read this one. It certainly seems to be one of her least well known novels - and I was concerned that this might mean it wasn’t very good. Well, I can tell you that it is good and I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to.The book opens with Richard – or Dick as he prefers to call himself – standing on a bridge, preparing to jump. Immediately the reader is intrigued, wondering what has happened to drive him to suicide. At the last minute Dick feels a hand on his shoulder – this is Jake, a complete stranger who saves his life and becomes his closest friend. The first half of the book follows the adventures of Dick and Jake as they leave England and sail to Scandinavia together in search of a new life. The second half is the story of Dick’s relationship with Hesta, a girl he meets in Paris.The whole book is written in the first person from Dick's perspective, which is significant as it was apparently the first time Daphne du Maurier wrote from a man's point of view – and I thought she captured the male voice perfectly. The only problem I had was that I just didn't like Dick very much. I found his immaturity and whining very irritating – although I understood that the point of the book was to follow his development from an insecure, selfish youth into a sensible, mature adult. Eventually he does begin to grow up and want different things out of life, but this comes too late in the book for me to be able to warm to him. However, the book is so well-written I could still enjoy it even with such an unsympathetic narrator. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and quite dreamlike, as she lets us get right inside Dick's head and share his thoughts and emotions. There are also some vivid descriptions of the mountains and fjords of Norway and the other places that the characters visit, particularly Paris with its cafés and boulevards.This would probably not be the best Daphne du Maurier book for a newcomer to begin with, but it's a good choice for someone who wants to venture away from Rebecca and read one of her less popular novels. A word of warning, though – if you're going to read the Virago Modern Classics edition, leave the introduction until last as it gives away the entire plot, including the ending (this is good advice with any book – I’ve learned from experience never to read the introduction first)