2008-06-17

Daphne du Maurier short stories (II)

After reading The Birds I went on to other du Maurier short stories, and found I enjoyed them even more than The Birds.

Monte Verita

This exemplifies many of the qualities of dM's writing:
  • The ability to create an air of the supernatural, but without anything supernatural actually happening. She never weakens her story by descending into supernatural explanations.
  • Insightful portrayals of male characters. I go as far as to say that dM is better at writing about men than women.
  • Great clarity of writing, including when writing about mysterious things. dM uses precise language and acute observation to convey emotions and an atomosphere that are subtle and elusive.
I particularly like the way dM evokes the world of the past. Here the protagonist talks of his stay with a friend:
...I had all the same comforts - cans of hot water, early tea, biscuits by my bed, cigarette box filled, all the touches of a thoughtful hostess.
The Apple Tree

I just didn't know what to make of this. Can someone help me and tell me what to think? Is he or his wife the baddie?

The Little Photographer

So convincingly rendered that I felt like I had committed the murder. It's funny, you hear a lot about computer games encouraging criminality, but you rarely hear Daphne du Maurier cited as a corrupter of the young.

Kiss Me Again, Stranger

Okay, well at least continue reading.

The Old Man

Genuinely surprised and delighted by this. I won't go into it 'cause I'll spoil it for you if you haven't read it. This story really stayed with me. Actually that's another thing about dM. She shows exquisite judgement in controlling the release of information as a story progresses. So much so that I'm sure that if you re-read one of her stories it would seem new.

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