The Rose and the Yew Tree (Westmacott) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1997/2/27
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A captivating novel of love and intrigue. Everyone expected Isabella Charteris, beautiful, sheltered and aristocratic, to marry her cousin Rupert when he came back from the War. It would have been such a suitable marriage. How strange then that John Gabriel, an ambitious and ruthless war hero, should appear in her life. For Isabella, the price of love would mean abandoning her dreams of home and happiness forever. For Gabriel, it would destroy his chance of a career and all his ambitions... Famous for her ingenious crime books and plays, Agatha Christie also wrote about crimes of the heart, six bittersweet and very personal novels, as compelling and memorable as the best of her work.
'Quiet and intelligent, with class distinctions which motivate its characters.' Books 'Miss Westmacott writes crisply and is always lucid... much material has been skilfully compressed.' Times Literary Supplement商品の説明をすべて表示する
The tale is narrated by Hugh Norreys, a man who was cripples and paralyzed in an automobile accident on the day he was set to run away with the woman he loved. At the beginning of the novel he is called to the sick bed of a man who was never quite his friend, John Gabriel. Hugh's reencounter with Gabriel after so many years sets in motion the telling of how the two men first met and parted as enemies. After his release Hugh resided with his artist brother, Robert, and sister-in-law Teresa, in St. Loo, a small Cornish town on the verge of a Parlimentary election. Gabriel was the candidate put forth and Hugh, the perfect listener whether he wanted to be or not, found himself privy to the secrets and gossip of the town. He is inexplicably drawn, as is Gabriel, to the young Isabella, certain heir to St. Loo Castle who is awaiting the return of her knight in shinning armor. Both men act very differently towards her yet neither truly understands why she makes the decision that she does in the end.
Agatha Christie was a very talented writer proven by the fact that her works have stood the test of time. Originally published in 1947, "The Rose and the Yew Tree" makes use of some very contemporary elements, and while dated in our time, the emotions that drive these characters remain universal. I'm not sure whether I really liked "The Rose and the Yew Tree" but I know I did not dislike it. A lot of the novel was dialogue and narration with little indication as to any driving purpose - this can be frustrating especially when several characters are not likeable or even compellingly drawn.
For much of the book, as others have noted, THE ROSE AND THE YEW TREE is a novel about disability; our hero has been involved in a terrible traffic accident and he is rendered almost wholly immobile. The tiny town of St. Loo becomes his window on the world, the nobility, the middle classes, the poor folk of the harbor like puppets in a Vanity Fair carnival for him. In despair, he fastens on the lives of anyone who comes to visit him, and yet for all his obsessions with their lives, he often fails to see their inner natures. He completely misses the fact that Teresa, his brother's Penelope Cruz-like wife, is steadfastly in love with him, while he fails to register the torrid three-way split between regal and distant Isabella Charteris, her fiancé (now stationed in Burma) Rupert, Lord St. Loo, and the common mongrel Gabriel.
In the background of Gabriel's campaign we see the exact same events that formed the "back story" of Christie's contemporaneous play The Mousetrap (first written as a half hour radio play to celebrate Queen Mary's 80th birthday, May 1947). Evacuee children brought out from the London blitz and boarded on West England farms, but abused and starved by cruel farmers and their wives, are a feature in both THE ROSE AND THE YEW TREE and THREE BLIND MICE. Did Christie make up this account of abuse, or did she base her fictions on a newspaper or radio account of something in the news at the time? Where are the grad students who could research this mystery?
Then there's the pun on "yew" and "Hugh" ....