Read Don't Look Now: Selected Stories by Daphne du Maurier Patrick McGrath Online


An alternative cover for this ISBN can be found hereAn NYRB OriginalDaphne du Maurier wrote some of the most compelling and creepy novels of the twentieth century. In books like Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, and Jamaica Inn she transformed the small dramas of everyday life—love, grief, jealousy—into the stuff of nightmares. Less known, though no less powerful, are her short sAn alternative cover for this ISBN can be found hereAn NYRB OriginalDaphne du Maurier wrote some of the most compelling and creepy novels of the twentieth century. In books like Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, and Jamaica Inn she transformed the small dramas of everyday life—love, grief, jealousy—into the stuff of nightmares. Less known, though no less powerful, are her short stories, in which she gave free rein to her imagination in narratives of unflagging suspense.Patrick McGrath's revelatory new selection of du Maurier's stories shows her at her most chilling and most psychologically astute: a dead child reappears in the alleyways of Venice; routine eye surgery reveals the beast within to a meek housewife; nature revolts against man's abuse by turning a benign species into an annihilating force; a dalliance with a beautiful stranger offers something more dangerous than a broken heart. McGrath draws on the whole of du Maurier's long career and includes surprising discoveries together with famous stories like "The Birds". Don't Look Now is a perfect introduction to a peerless storyteller....

Title : Don't Look Now: Selected Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590172889
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Don't Look Now: Selected Stories Reviews

  • Glenn Russell
    2019-01-29 20:15

    Gripping, absolutely gripping – my listening to three Daphne du Maurier tales on audio: No Motive and two from this collection, Don’t Look Now and the author’s famous The Birds. Each reading spanning an hour and a half, the storytelling so compelling, picking up dramatic momentum every single minute, I dare not take a break until the shocking conclusion. And to add a bit more atmosphere to my listening to The Birds, out my apartment window, down at the pond, a gaggle of Canadian Geese started honking and fighting and honking some more. Patrick McGrath writes in his astute Introduction to this New York Review Books (NYRB) edition how Daphne du Mauier possessed an uncanny genius to craft her stories in ways to sustain tension right up until the the final sentence, an ending frequently shocking and disturbing in the extreme. I enjoyed each of the nine pieces collected here but two most especially: Don’t Look Now with its clairvoyant older twins and creepy happenings and the story serving as the focus of my review: The Birds. And please don't think of the Hitchcock film - other than attacking birds and terrorized humans, Daphne du Maurier's tale is a hundred shades darker, incomparably more ominous and threatening, even to the point of impending cataclysm for the entire human race. THE BIRDS“Black and white, jackdaw and gull, mingled in strange partnership, seeking some sort of liberation, never satisfied, never still. Flocks of starlings, rustling like silk, flew to fresh pasture, driven by the same necessity of movement, and the smaller birds, the finches and the larks, scattered from tree to hedge as if compelled.” Handyman Nat Hocken lives in remote farming country out on a peninsula in England and remarks to one of the farmers how there’s something quite strange about all the bird behavior this autumn. Just how strange? Nat finds out very quickly when that very night birds enter the bedroom window of his son and daughter, dozens of little birds, attacking both of them, trying to peck out his son’s eyes. Nat takes immediate action, gets his children out of the room, closes the door, and frantically swings a pillow left and right, up and down, to kill as many birds as he can. The next morning: “Nat gazed at the little corpses, shocked and horrified. They were all small birds, none of any size, there must have been fifty of them lying there upon the floor. There were robins, finches, sparrows, blue tits, larks, and bramblings, birds that by nature’s law kept to their own flock and their own territory, and now, joining one with another in their urge for battle, has destroyed themselves against the bedroom walls, or in the strife had been destroyed by him.” And this is only the beginning. Later that day Ned is attacked by bigger birds out in a field and, after he races home for protection, both he and his wife hear on the radio that the government of England has called a state of emergency, advising all citizens to remain inside and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. But, above all else, people are urged to remain calm. Fun facts: there exists almost ten thousand different species of birds and according to some experts, the total worldwide bird population could total as many as four-hundred-billion. Whoa! Four-hundred-billion. No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of birds. Imagine what would happen if, as if directed and coordinated by some unseen unifying force, all those birds began an attack en masse on humans. Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek believes the author was targeting the prevailing welfare state for their inability to effectively deal with the attacking birds. Patrick McGrath notes how du Maurier’s story anticipates a global ecological disaster. I myself think McGrath is on the mark and Žižek is way off the mark. As Nat Hocken asserts, survival, at least immediate survival, has everything to do with the sturdiness of one's shelter. Sorry, Slavoj - politicians of any stripe will be of little help in fending off a nonstop attack conducted by billions of birds. Daphne du Maurier delves into the unsettling psychology produced by such an attack. Almost to be expected, initial reactions revolve around denial and rationalization. Very understandable since the cycle of human existence is completely dependent on the laws of nature. And the more we understand the laws of nature, the more we feel we are in control. Herein lies the terror of the tale – the laws of nature remain intact with one glaring exception: the behavior of the birds. All of a sudden nature has transformed itself into the unknown. As writers such as H.P. Lovecraft recognized, there is no stronger human emotion than fear and no great fear than fear of the unknown. As per the well-worn admonition, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” humans being humans, there is a natural instinct to take action. Upon hearing a roaring sound, Nat reflects how the authorities have sent out airplanes but knows this is sheer suicide since aircraft would be useless against thousands and thousands of birds flinging themselves to death against propellers, fuselages and jets. Then Nat hears another sound, a sound prompting him to have one last smoke: “The hawks ignored the windows. They concentrated their attack upon the door. Nat listened to the tearing sound of splintered wood, and wondered how many million years of memory were stored in those little brains, behind the stabbing beaks, the piercing eyes, now giving them this instinct to destroy mankind with all the precision of machines.” Did I mention gripping? I can assure you, you will never encounter a more chilling, spellbinding, mesmerizing tale then this one. Darn, down at the pond, those Canadian Geese are still honking up a storm. But no attacks on humans have been reported . . . yet.

  • David
    2019-02-02 22:02

    Daphne Du Maurier is very British. And I am very not. Her language leaves me at a cool, unengaged distance, mostly—which clearly isn't desirable for the kind of fiction she traffics in (i.e., horror, basically, but of a more cerebral variety). Two of the stories in this collection ('The Birds' and 'Don't Look Now') have been adapted into films by Alfred Hitchcock and Nicholas Roeg, respectively. In the former case, Du Maurier's story easily outshines Hitchcock's goofy, overlong film—and is certainly the best and perhaps only truly visceral story in the collection—and in the latter case... well, let's just say neither the film nor the story is terribly successful. And in the film there's a distressing amount of Donald Sutherland nudity. (And any amount of Donald Sutherland nudity is, as you might well guess, a distressing amount.) I've read these stories over a month, and I can't remember many of them. I can't make up my mind whether to blame this on my memory or Du Maurier's failure as a writer, but either way I'm probably being too generous by giving this three stars. (Yeah, just look at me being all generous. And you thought I was an asshole.)

  • El
    2019-02-23 19:16

    (ETA Movie Review at the end)It's hard to review collections of short stories. I look at collections of short stories as either being good. Or bad. Rarely am I on the fence about all the stories in the set - there's usually one or two that I enjoy, probably another one or two that I thought were lame, etc.With Don't Look Now I can't say that I liked some and didn't like others. They were all brilliant. Du Maurier had a knack for writing purely from the imagination. I saw it first in Rebecca and The House on the Strand, but I think these short stories blow them both away as far as the depth and range of her imagination. Her stories are absolutely creepy, full of psychological turmoil which is really what's scary in our lives, isn't it? It's not monsters under the bed or in the closet; it's not always the ghosts in the stairwell raising a crooked finger at us. It's what's inside that can scare the holy crap out of a kid, and du Maurier had the ability to take a person's deepest, darkest fears and turn them into a fantastic little story. How many people are scared of birds after watching Hitchcock's The Birds? That movie wouldn't have been made if du Maurier hadn't written the story first. So you have her to thank as you watch the skies in terror, especially at this time of the year when birds make their migration south for the winter. When you see birds all lined up on the telephone polls - run. Run like hell. Those bitches will get you. You think they don't notice you? You're dumb. RUN.The other stories in this collection are just as charming as The Birds. I also especially liked The Blue Lenses, the story of a woman who has had her eyes fitted for new lenses which should make her see. Upon first unwrapping of her head she sees everyone as they actually are - one nurse has the head of a snake, her husband has the head of a vulture. There's a Twilight Zone episode similar to that, isn't there? The pig faces?Seriously, some of these stories will scare the tuna right out of you. And that's the genius of them, because you can imagine them all actually happening. Granted, I can also imagine Pennywise the clown hanging out in the sewer (thanks, Stephen King), so maybe my imagination is pretty wonderful too. But obviously that's what draws me to writers like du Maurier. This was the perfect time of year to read these stories (right around Halloween) - the dreary weather that is setting in is the perfect atmopshere. Be warned, though - these stories often take place in the daytime, right at the exact moment you think you're safest. I'd keep my eyes open if I were you.ETA (02/21/12): So last night I saw the 1973 film Don't Look Now. Oh, the Seventies. I wish I had known you better. I came into the world when the Seventies might as well have been the Eighties, so I missed out on so much. Like Donald Sutherland's hair! and mustache! and a very brief shot of his wee-wee!Movies from the Seventies had some of the craziest sex scenes ever. It's not that the lovemaking scene in this movie wasn't touching - it probably was. But it went on for a very long time, which I realize probably had to do with the fact that the movie is based on a short story - operative word being short. Hmm, how do we make this short story a full-length movie? I know! SEX! And then there were important moments like Julie Christie biting her lipstick. Yeah, I dunno either. It was the Seventies, what can I say?But really, the movie had some great creepy moments, but in the way that a lot of those movies from that period were creepy - lots of sudden musical explosions or other noises that aren't necessarily scary but they wanted to scare ya, and rapid scene changes, and, of course, a blind woman. Blind women are always creepy in movies, yeah?Did I mention Donald Sutherland's hair was pretty scary? Out of control. I think that's probably what the title is really referring to: DON'T LOOK NOW or Donnie Sutherland's hair will EAT YOU.

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-01-26 14:55

    a 3.8 rounded upIf you've read Rebecca and you think that's all there is to Daphne Du Maurier, think again. This collection goes well beyond Manderley, taking the reader into lives that seem very normal until you begin to notice that something is just not quite right -- and by then, it's too late to stop reading. If you want the longer version, feel free to click on through to myonline reading journal ; otherwise, stick with the shorter version here. You'll find that the author covers a range of themes: isolation, love, loss, grief, dislocation, revenge, obsession, fate -- all very human attributes that here take on a different sort of significance in the lives of her characters. The beauty in these tales is that her people are just going about their every day lives -- at least at first. For example, In "Don't Look Now," a husband and wife are in Venice on holiday to help them to deal with their grief over their dead child. In "Split Second," a widow with a young daughter away at school steps out to take a walk and returns home. "The Blue Lenses" is expressed from the point of view of a woman who is recovering from eye surgery. All of these things are very normal, very mundane, and described very well by the author. But soon it begins to dawn on you that something is just off -- that things are moving ever so slightly away from ordinary, heading into the realm of extraordinary. By that time, you're so caught up in the lives of these people that you have to see them through to the end. The joke is on the reader, though -- in some cases the endings do not necessarily resolve things, but instead, point toward another possible chapter in the characters' futures. While the author doesn't do this in every story, when she does, it's highly effective and leaves you very unsettled and in my case, filled with a sense of unease thinking about what's going to happen to these people next. As one character notes, "Nothing's been the same since. Nor ever will be," and that's the feeling I walked away with at the end of several of these stories. All in all, a fine collection of stories, definitely recommended. NYRB classics has really done readers a great service by bringing these stories together -- my advice: if you're interested in trying out Du Maurier's short stories, this edition would be the perfect starting place.

  • Mike Lester
    2019-01-30 21:01

    I've been in some pretty sticky situations during my stay on this rock, planet Earth, Mother Gaia, or whatever the hell we're supposed to be calling it these days, and each time, just when I think I'm about to buy the farm, my mind spins like some out of control Rolodex, memories and thoughts whirling by in an incredible, yet lucid blur, each moment of my life that led me to this point of near-death flashing by, and in that split second when I'm expecting the impact of the bullet, the knife, or the fist, one thought dominates all: is this what everything amounts to, is this the absurd sum of my days? Du Maurier's book brought all this home. Don't Look Now ranks right up there with The Tenant on my short list of mystery/horror writing dealing with identity and destiny. The way the story unfolds feels almost like a horrifying connect-the-dots puzzle, the solution of which strips bare our perceptions of free will and self-determination. Truly disturbing stuff. Plus, the book touched on my unease with short people, dwarves, and other such folk. 5 stars.....

  • J.M. Hushour
    2019-02-18 19:23

    Du Maurier is difficult to pin down. I see her as a far superior sort of prototype to the drivel of our latter-day "literature". All the Kings, Rices, Rowlings and their ilk. She's also a far superior, off-kilter author in the vein of HP Lovecraft who couldn't move past the same adjective set and increasingly stuffy and impotent imaginary universe.Du Maurier populates the world with oddly misunderstood clairvoyance ("Don't Look Now"), menacing waterfowl ("The Birds"; yes, that "The Birds"! It was originally a story that is so much better than the film that for a moment you'll hate Hitchcock for changing it so much), world-shattering corrective eye surgery ("The Blue Lenses") and existential mountain-climbing (the supremely awesome "Monte Verita"). Much of her material and style might feel familiar. She's one of those authors that get ripped off a lot, aped, and copied, but no one can capture her singular dryness, wit, and, let's face it, quiet sensuality.Remarkable, peeps.

  • David Peak
    2019-01-25 18:59

    Rounding up from 3.5 stars, mostly because du Maurier is such an elegant writer, but this collection is oddly sequenced and very uneven. There are a few shorter pieces included here that feel inconsequential and out of place, other stories are overlong and have payoffs you can see from a mile away, and the much-vaunted "The Blue Lenses" didn't do much for me. All that being said, the title story, "The Birds," "Kiss Me Again, Stranger, and "Monte Verita" are all excellent.

  • Sue
    2019-02-22 16:00

    Another well-written book. I'm getting spoiled. I haven't read anything by DuMaurier for years and had forgotten her talent which is well displayed in these stories. No wonder that two were eventually taken for films and one by Rod Serling for The Twilight zone. And I've seen them all. Truthfully, the written word is still better. Even with the images in my mind, the stories manage to give me more feelings of dread. But that has always been the ability of a truly skilled writer in my opinion. I strongly recommend these stories for those who enjoy good writing with an edge.

  • Randolph Carter
    2019-02-02 20:55

    I wasn't overly impressed with this collection of stories. Don't Look Now and The Birds were pretty good but having seen the films many times certainly took much away some of the suspense. No fault of the author. I thought that The Birds was better, more menacing, than the Hitchcock film of the same name. I liked the more ambiguous ending better. The Escort I thought was awful. The plot is so hackneyed I knew what the ending would be when the "mysterious" ship appeared. Split Second and Kiss Me Again, Stranger were both very good with the latter having a great twist at the end. Blue Lenses, one of Du Maurier's more celebrated stories, I thought was pretty weak. Once you figured out the schtick (and you will, quickly) it was just boring and overlong. Monte Verita was really long and just average as a story goes. I hated the ending.Du Maurier's writing style and the stories' vocabulary and metaphor seemed somewhat dumbed down to appeal to a larger audience than a more literary style would have appealed to. Certainly not very quotable prose. For some reason, I guess because none of the stories were really gripping, it took me a long time to finish the entire book. I was never hooked like I am with horror writers; waiting in expectation for the next story.I'm not sure why Du Maurier is held in such high regard. Because of some of her novels she is considered one of the more literary horror writers that the non-horror readers (Who wants that stigma?) find acceptable to read. I guess it must be because of her other writing. She sure had a lot of her output adapted as movies.There is certainly more interesting and exciting horror stories to read. Would I recommend this to someone? No.

  • Kelly B
    2019-02-15 21:04

    A wonderful collection of short stories.My favorite was Blue Lenses, which was about a woman who has an eye surgery so she can see again. The new eye lenses cause her to see people as they really are, inside.

  • Brent Legault
    2019-01-26 20:13

    The best pages of this collection, in my humble estimation, are the first 100. That is, the stories "Don't Look Now" and "The Birds." The other stories are not bad, but they aren't up to snuff, especially in comparison with "The Birds." The bleakness, the hopelessness, and the dour fatalism are just dreamy.

  • Trish
    2019-02-07 20:03

    I read the Doubleday version of this collection of short stories, published in hardcover in 1971, and found some of the stories felt dated, especially the story called The Breakthrough, which is about capturing the consciousness of an individual as they pass from life to death, holding onto the life force and attempting to chart its movements. The scientists in this story demonstrated a chilling scientific attitude with frightfully little ethical grounding. It may have been my distaste at the lack of current political correctness that made the work seem dated.The other stories in the book worked better, happily. I read the book as part of the group NYRB Classics which was their October (?) selection. NYRB chose the best stories in the book and stories published elsewhere to republish in a new edition and I would therefore have to recommend their new edition. The tales didn’t have so much a gothic feel, as much as a very British feel.

  • Brooke
    2019-02-21 18:17

    This collection contains nine short stories of varying length, including the one that inspired Hitchcock's The Birds. All nine stories are strong, which isn't something I often find in short story collections. When I was disappointed by the Richard Matheson collection Button, Button Uncanny Stories, I think I was expecting something like this. As with any classic, ignore the introduction until you're finished unless you want everything spoiled for you.

  • Ronald
    2019-02-07 17:08

    There seems to be some confusion in the reviews here. The cover photo of this book is for the book published by NYRB in 2008, not for the book with a similar title published a few decade ago. The contents of this book:IntroductionDon't Look NowThe BirdsEscortSplit SecondKiss Me Again, StrangerThe Blue LensesLa Sainte-ViergeIndiscretionMonte Verita I'm giving this book 5 stars due to the strength of the novella Monte Verita.Some of these stories I've read before, and reviewed here at goodreads. Others were new to me.Patrick McGrath in his introduction argues for the merits of Daphne du Maurier as a writer, comments on each story, and points out that clairvoyance is a theme in some of her fiction.Another theme in some of these stories, I noticed, is tragic romance. When the tragic romance plot is mixed with uncanny stuff, I find it to be a quite intriguing weird tale. I have a hunch that this sort of tale influenced Robert Aickman. I've become a big fan of the DuMaurer/Aickman school. "Don't Look Now" A fine story though drags in places I think. This story was adapted into a movie by Nicholas Roeg, starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. The story is about a couple vacationing in Venice, trying to work out the death of their daughter, but uncanny, supernatural stuff happens."The Birds" This story was adapted into the famous movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Though there are major differences between the original story and the movie. The movie tacked on a love triangle plus a domineering mother, which I don't think was relevant to the plot. Also, DuMaurier's story takes place in Great Britain, and it is a family under attack by birds, and it is implied that this is one episode in a worldwide struggle between the birds and the human race."Escort" A ghost ship story. Not a bad story at all, but felt slight to me."Split Second" As a reader of science fiction, I saw where this story was heading about half-way through. A woman, when she comes back to the area in which she lives, finds that many things are different--other people are living in her house, the police cannot find her listed in the phone book, she has different neighbors, etc. (view spoiler)[ The woman went through a time warp from 1932 to 1952(hide spoiler)]"Kiss Me Again, Stranger" This story has elements of romance, noir, and horror. A young man is attracted to a movie theater usherette, but discovers that she is a serial killer of a certain type of man. Quite an interesting plot."The Blue Lenses" This would make a good episode of The Twilight Zone. A woman has an operation on her eyes, and has to wear lenses. Everyone she see has the head of an animal, and the animal head is reflective of the character of that person. For example, her husband has the head of a vulture. Her nurse has the head of a snake. Others look more benign, such as a cow or a fish. The story has a twist ending."La Sainte-Vierge" A short story about a young peasant woman who prays to the Virgin Mary that her husband comes to no harm at sea. She receives a vision, but misinterprets it. Not a bad story, but slight."Indiscretion" The narrator's boss plans to get married soon. The narrator tells his boss about his bad experience with a woman. At the end of DuMaurier's story, a truth is revealed which has bad repercussions on everyone concerned. "Monte Verita" I've enjoyed many stories, but only a few have enthralled me. Monte Verita is one of them. The narrator is friends with a married couple, Victor and Anna. They are all excellent mountain climbers. The narrator is invited by the couple to join them mountain climbing, but declines the invitation. The narrator later is informed that at night Anna went up Monte Verita by herself and joined a secluded community where, it is rumored, no one ages, they have telepathy, and worship and derive their powers from the moon. Anna is not the only one who has been mystically called to the community at Monte Verita, and all those called have never left. Victor and the narrator tries to deal with this, with the narrator making the journey up the mountain. A wonderful novella with elements of romance, suspense, supernatural and utopian fiction.

  • Miguel Cane
    2019-02-04 20:00

    Interesante compilación de narrativa breve deDaphne du Maurier, a cargo dePatrick McGrath, un experto en la narrativa gótica en el siglo XX. Como es natural, incluye sus dos relatos de angustia más famosos, The Birds (que Hitchcock tomó como inspiración para su película, que nada tiene qué ver) y Don't Look Now (que Nic Roeg filmó con pasmosa fidelidad en una de las cintas más influyentes de los 70), pero también incluye algunos relatos menos conocidos, que es donde reside la raison d'etré del libro.En la novela corta Monte Veritá, Lady du Maurier hace un retrato inquietante y ominoso de los temas que aparecieron en la célebre Lost Horizon, sólo que a diferencia de aquella, hay una vena de horror oculto e intrínseco. Y esa es la rúbrica de la autora: siempre en sus obras (ya sea sus novelas largas comoRebecca.The Flight of the Falcon oMy Cousin Rachel, sabemos que hay algo inquietante detrás de la prosa tan pulcra, de la estructura tan bien cuidada.No se le ha dado a Lady du Maurier el reconocimiento que se merece: por años se la vio únicamente como autora de "libros para señoras", pero muy por debajo de este barniz, existe una narrativa subversiva, oscura, que presenta la realidad al principio ligeramente distorsionada, para luego desafiar géneros y verosimilitudes y hacer plausible lo imposible. Esto se ve, por ejemplo, en el brillante relato The Blue Lenses, que con su mano de hada consigue yuxtaponer la ciencia ficción con el horror gótico. El resultado es una narración efectiva, en la que pareciera quePhilip K. Dick ha intervenido un texto deVirginia Woolf.Daphne du Maurier merece más respeto del que recibe ahora. Sus escritos son también literatura de primera calidad, y ejemplo de la narrativa en lengua inglesa de la post-guerra: hay una preocupación con la psicología de los personajes, un anhelo de romper barreras, de explorar lo desconocido mediante un lenguaje elegante y un ojo al detalle, que la distinguen. Si su éxito comercial en su época es lo que la hace poco valiosa ante los ojos de la crítica es una corriente que debe cambiar: ha superado, comoShirley Jackson, la prueba del tiempo; sus textos existen para la posteridad y este volumen es el punto ideal para acercarse a su lectura -- si bien, para mi gusto, faltan algunos otros relatos tan o más destacados que los aquí aparecidos.

  • Aglaia
    2019-02-22 15:57

    A collection of Daphne du Maurier's short stories, Don't Look Now reminds readers that du Maurier should be remembered for more than just gothic romances or adapted films. Including gems such as "The Blue Lenses" that tells the story of a woman whose eye surgery leaves her with better sight than she ever could have desired and "Monte Verita" that is a mix of love story, truth quest, and obsession, this collection offers a little bit for everyone. Any collection of du Maurier's would be incomplete, of course, without "The Birds," the short story that inspired Hitchcock's movie. Also included are "Escort," a benevolent ghost story; "Split Second," what might be considered a science fiction, time travel story; "Kiss Me Again, Stranger," a murder-centric story; "La Sainte-Vierge," the story of an idealistic young wife; "Indiscretion," a love story gone wrong; and of course the title story "Don't Look Now," a psychic thriller.The quality of the selections varies. Stories such as "The Blue Lenses" and "Don't Look Now" display du Maurier's ability to create uncanny situations beautifully. Others, such as "La Sainte-Vierge" and "Indiscretion" seem dated and worn to current audiences. Patrick McGrath's introduction does little to further intrigue readers in the writing ability or life of the author. Still, taken as a collection, Don't Look Now provides a good introduction to du Maurier's writings as well as good examples of the short story style.

  • Kenneth
    2019-02-03 18:13

    This is a wonderful collection of Daphne Du Maurier's suspense short stories, selected by Patrick McGrath, who is himself a master of neo-Gothic suspense (I am a huge fan of Asylum and Port Mungo - reviews here). Each tale explores a different kind of nightmare and is genuinely creepy without relying on cheap, garish frights. My favorites are: "The Birds," which provided the basis for the Hitchcock film of the same name but is far scarier than the movie; "Kiss Me Again, Stranger," which is a semi-erotic masterpiece that relies upon the narrator's voice and tone to drive the story forward; and above all, "The Blue Lenses," which tells the story of a woman who undergoes experimental eye surgery and begins to see the truth of things in ways other people do not. On the spectrum between thriller and horror, these stories are much closer to thrillers, but even fans of the other extreme should readily connect with this collection.

  • Beth
    2019-01-27 16:02

    I could read Daphne du Maurier stories for the rest of my life. The title story completely terrified me, even though I've read it before and seen the movie! I'm putting du Maurier up there with Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith in the dread-filled short story hall of fame.

  • Carla Remy
    2019-02-01 22:03

    "The Birds" is an amazing story. "The Blue Lenses" is also pretty phenomenal.

  • Corinna Bechko
    2019-02-07 15:57

    Really interesting collection of short stories that are more horrific than I would have imagined even after having read REBECCA. "The Birds" is a masterpiece of apocalyptic fiction, and much scarier than the more light-hearted Hitchcock film that was made from it. "Don't Look Now" left me a little cold, much like the film version, but "Monte Verita" ended the collection with a unsettling bang that is worth the price of admission all by itself.

  • Sara
    2019-01-29 21:59

    Great collection of psychological thrillers. Worth picking up for the title story and The Birds, as well as Split Second.

  • Derek
    2019-02-23 18:25

  • P.S. Clinen
    2019-02-05 21:24

    Loved The Birds and Don't Look Now.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-04 19:02

    4.25 even! My new favorite author! Creepy and disturbing stories. THE BIRDS totally fueled my anxiety. Good stuff.

  • Declan
    2019-02-15 21:25

    I found this to be an uneven collection, but there are a couple of stories (Don't Look Now and Split Second) which manage to disorientate the reader very well, and by having us see everything through the viewpoint of very unreliable narrators, we become as bewildered as they are by the failure of the world to cohere into any kind of sense. Some stories (Split Second again and Kiss Me Again, Stranger) could have worked very well as subtle interrogations of the British class system and the neurotic anxieties of those who feel superior to those 'below them'. But in both cases a decision to reorient the stories in a startling, new direction eventually takes over and, most especially in Split Second, works well. There are other stories, however, where the entire story is simply a lead up to a dramatic flourish at the conclusion and theses stories are the least satisfying (Escort, La Sainte-Vierge and Indiscretion) The Birds is, it seemed to me, a convincing exploration (written in the aftermath of World War 2) of how it might have felt to have been taken over by an outside force, be it the German army or a natural element. The best story, for me, was Monte Verita, a curious and beguiling tale which begins at the end and therefore avoids the need to build towards a revelation. It remains, long after it has been read, a pleasingly mysterious story.

  • Maren
    2019-02-19 21:07

    DuMaurier's short stories, the source for so many films, including The Birds, are gems. She is a gifted writer at building suspense and creating an eerie or disconcerting atmosphere. Yet she also seems to tap into deeper human fears and her novels and short stories far surpass other writers of thrillers.The Birds in particular is strikingly different than the film. Set in a remote British coastal town not long after the end of World War II the fears the bird evokes in the war veteran narrator resonate with his war experiences while still maintaining the mystery and fear of nature gone awry and at odds with humans.The other stories include a woman who leaves her house and returns to find other people living there, a woman who recovers from eye surgery only to see the beast within others, a couple with escaping their grief over a dead child in Italy end up having an appointment in Samara.DuMaurier's success has perhaps overshadowed her consummate skill as a writer and it is worth rediscovering that skill in these short stories.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-02-07 20:22

    When this was selected for October for the NYRB Classics Group, I was willing but skeptical. I expected the stories to be similar to Rebecca, a very gothic novel which I characterized as being about "mysterious dead wives and big bleak mansions" when I read it.I was pleasantly surprised. These still have some of the gothic tone, but there is more of a horror in the familiar that I'm used to from the old-fashioned horror short story, and Daphne du Maurier fits right into that company. Not to mention that she wrote the story "The Birds," which inspired Hitchcock to make his movie. See my longer review on my blog.

  • Rawannie
    2019-02-03 15:59

    I. Love. This. Sincerely, I loved every second of this collection of short stories. I had heard of Daphne du Maurier but was never interested in reading her novels. I think that this is one of the reasons I love short stories so much—you are given a perfect amount to discover and taste and relish an author's style. This collection includes classic stories of love and loss, ghosts and perceived monsters. I found The Birds riveting and rather apocalyptic. At least Hitchcock gave us a taste of hope in his version. Daphne does not. An enjoyable read especially appropriate for the fall and winter, if you possess a strong constitution. Otherwise, it should be read during a warm and sunny string of days...around happy people.

  • Daniel
    2019-02-05 16:20

    Well-written, well constructed, patient stories that nearly all veer into the supernatural. Sometimes they border on gimicks and a few of them are twilight zone material (one, "Blue Lenses," actually was a Twilight Zone episode, I think). At least one equisite little tale "La Sainte-Vierge" comes to perfect closure and then tacks on a superfluous "explanation" of something that is otherwise fully explained by the story itself. Such sporadic moments of questionable taste exihibit Du Maurier's populism, which is otherwise to her credit. "Don't Look Now" is perfect, and "The Birds" is horrifying in a very different way than Hitchcock's interpretation; "Split Second" and "Kiss Me Again Stranger" are very good.

  • Eileen
    2019-01-24 21:05

    I usually hate books of short stories.Now that I've alienated all the fiction people, I'll say that these short stories are very high quality; they are suspense, with some tinge of the supernatural, which is to be expected from DuMaurier. If you want to read the actual story "The Birds," here it is.