By Michael Dirda, The Washington PostThursday, October 29, 2009
J.M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers,
and the Dark Side of "Peter Pan"
By Piers Dudgeon
Pegasus. 333 pp. $26.95
There might be scarier books this Halloween season, but it's unlikely that any will be as luridly creepy as "Neverland." Even if you already know a little about the sinister background of J.M. Barrie's classic play, "Peter Pan," you will be in for a shock. In these pages Piers Dudgeon presents a multi-generational history of psychological domination and submission, unnatural family relations, predatory abuse and suicide.
He also connects three great works of the popular imagination: George du Maurier's late-19th-century bestseller "Trilby" -- the novel in which the evil Svengali, through hypnosis, transforms a beautiful tone-deaf girl into a singing sensation but in the process destroys her soul; J.M. Barrie's death-haunted "Peter Pan," once titled "The Boy Who Hated Mothers"; and Daphne du Maurier's Gothic romance about spiritual possession, "Rebecca."
Íntegra no The Washington Post.