Friday, December 23, 2011

The Progress of Julius by Daphne du Maurier

The Progress of Julius was my December choice for the Read Your Own Books Challenge for which the book must have been on the shelf for over six months.

I bought an old 1970's secondhand copy to read for a challenge a year ago ( obviously that didn't happen) - in more recent publications the title is simply Julius. First published in 1933 it was Daphne Du Maurier's third book and was not particularly well-received being regarded as close to anti-Semitic.

It's about: Julius Levy sacrifices everything to a ruthless ambition. After a childhood in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and in Algiers he arrives in England as a young man where his dreams come true with a swiftness that would have frightened a man less sure of his destiny. As he claws his way to wealth, he cares for no-one - until Gabriel is born. The dark passion she inspires in her father will eventually destroy them both.

My thoughts: I don't think I've ever read a book so unremittingly dark - a horrible story about a horrible man. I didn't like it at all!


  1. I thought I'd read all of Daphne Du Maurier's books so it was interesting to hear of this one. Sounds as though I can give it a miss, though.

    Have a great Chrissie

  2. What a bizarre conclusion to have reached. It's not a book that ever pretends to be nice or kind, but an intense look at a character who is almost a psychopath in how he pursues things. He is not likeable, nor the things that he does, but the reading of it is instead a grim fascination of a man who builds himself and then knocks himself down again. Julius is unashamed about being distasteful, and because of that I don't think that's a valid reason to not like it at all. It would be like not enjoying Les Misérables because the story is a bit sad.