Original date of publication: 1963
My edition: 2004 (Virago)
Why I decided to read: it’s been on my TBR list forever
How I acquired my copy: Online, February 2011
The Glass-Blowers is the story of the Bussons, a family of glassblowers in the late 18th century (and ancestors to Daphne Du Murier). The story is told through the eyes of their sister, Sophie Duval, married to a master glassblower. The novel takes the family. Daphne Du Maurier wrote frequently about various members of her ancestors and family members, and this is a fantastic fictional account of the French Revolution and the effects it had on one family.
Daphne Du Maurier is one of my favorite authors, but sadly, this to me wasn’t one of her better books. There’s not much about the glassblowing trade in this novel, and the details the reader gets on the events of the period are sketchy. Granted, Sophie Duval spends most of her time out in the countryside, but maybe the story could have been told from the point of view of a different member of the family? There were stretches in this novel where not much happens, which was a bit of a disappointment. But when there was action, such as the scene when the Vendeans come into their village, that are truly harrowing. I’m continually amazed, through reading fiction and nonfiction about the French Revolution, by how brutal people were.
The author’s strengths, however, lie in characterization. Robert Busson, with his pretensions to grandeur, has the most heartbreaking story of them all—but in a way, he brings all of what happens to him on himself. I also enjoyed reading about how the Du Maurier family got their name—a bit of self-invention at its finest! I’m a little bit partial towards Daphne Du Maurier’s books, and so I’m rating this higher than I normally would, but I don’t think it’s one of her best.