The Second Mrs. de Winter


Best of 2020

We’re away until January 4, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2020. Enjoy your holiday!

Illustration for a Rebecca paper doll by Jenny Kroik for The Paris Review

“The sexiness of [Rebecca] is maybe the most unsettling part, since it centers on the narrator’s being simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by the memory and the mystery of her new husband’s dead wife.” —Emily Alford, Jezebel

NB: This essay contains all of the spoilers for Rebecca.

Rebecca had good taste—or maybe she just had the same taste as me, and that’s why I thought it was good. She loved a particular shade of vintage minty turquoise. The kitchen cabinets were all this color. As were the plates inside. The cups and bowls were white with dainty black dots on them. Not polka dots—a smaller, more charming print.

I loved them. I might have picked them out myself. It made me feel sick that I loved them.

I imagined Rebecca had picked out these cups and plates when she moved into this house, but the cupboards I was investigating, and the very lovely dishes inside them, now belonged to her ex-husband, my boyfriend. Rebecca lived fifteen minutes away.

Of course, her name wasn’t really Rebecca. But grant me a theme. We’ll call him Maxim.