i'm still thinking about this book three days later. it differs from other du maurier works in that there isn't anything gothic or spooky about it. the parasites is a novel of three siblings, two of whom are not related to each other by blood: maria, the daughter of a famous singer who marries an even more famous dancer who has a son named niall born in the same year as maria, and celia, the daughter the two artists come to have together. it is told mostly in flashback: the three siblings are called parasites by maria's husband, and they are left to wonder why. in so doing, they trace back their lives.
that little precis doesn't really sound all that intriguing, i know, and this book isn't really heavy on plot, but it is a great exploration of character, and what people feel they need, and what they feel they can let go. there was a lot of really wonderful observation about how the world works, and what one can live with if one has to. it read a lot like the black prince by iris murdoch, but it felt wiser, somehow. i think it's likely i'll read it again soon because it doesn't want to leave me alone, and when i do i'll revisit this review.
re-read prompted by the completist's club and jessica treat's thread there: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1034474-daphne-du-maurier#comment_id_62872138
yeah, this book is seriously kick ass. these are some complex characterizations.