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  • Hardcover
  • 303 pages
  • Don't Look Now and Other Stories
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • English
  • 05 May 2019
  • 9780816160198

About the Author: Daphne du Maurier

If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination Few writers have created magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles a fairy tale Born into a fami



10 thoughts on “Don't Look Now and Other Stories

  1. says:

    Having seen the 1973 film adaptation of Don t Look Now many years ago which completely freaked me out, I thought this would somewhat take the gloss off the reading experience simply because it contained one of the most shocking finales in history, but thankfully I needn t have worried Although the other four short stories in this collection are every bit as chilling it s Don t Look Now that stands out from the rest as a terrifying masterpiece of slow burning tension, which is spine chilling as hell but also tender and intimate, a perfect distillation of the confusion and desire that attend grief for a married couple, which, as the story progresses, adventures forward through the winding streets of Venice with the logic of a nightmare After the death of their daughter Venice to degree becomes a sort of haven for the healing process, well that s until a seriously creepy old psychic clairvoyant predicts some rather disturbing happenings This is in essence a haunting ghost story which looks at the close affinity of a loving couple and the emotional reactions of losing a child And it s here I will stop for reasons of not giving too much away All the stories are, in their own way, refusals of comfort with the one thing in common being that unpleasant things happen to people, and in one way or another, there is little chance of escapism, Du Maurier certainly knows how to hold ones attention, you may know what s coming but not necessarily in the direction that is anticipated and that s a strong attribute to have.You could be settled into the most comfy chair on the planet, but once she starts to weave her web of unnerving horror, just don t expect to stay that way.

  2. says:

    Daphne du Maurier takes a dip into the deep and murky waters of the human condition What did she find there Certainly not treasure Egos punctured and hopes shattered, mysteries solved but in the worst way, the soul turned into a commodity, the wrecks of dreams and desires just another day at the beach for the chilly and not particularly empathetic Ms du Maurier, who is all too familiar with humanity s constant ability to fool itself.The talent on display reminded me of both Ruth Rendell and Joyce Carol Oates All three authors share the ability to effortlessly create characters that are recognizable and rooted in our reality, while maintaining a dispassionate detachment from those characters Cold blooded writers, writing about mainly unsympathetic people Perhaps not a fun experience but there was certainly much to admire Her prose is elegant her characters are unpleasant but interesting her themes are darkly fascinating her disinterest in spelling things out and thus keeping her stories ambiguous is admirable.The most famous of the collection, its title story Don t Look Now about an ill fated holiday in Venice was certainly disturbing and memorable And bleak Not After Midnight had a strain of weird fantasy that made it all the haunting And bleak A Border Line Case pulls double duty as a mystery and an anti romance the story was continually tense And bleak The Breakthrough could have been a mournful exploration of things spiritual and material, but du Maurier s cold eye made the story feel like a cautionary tale both desolate and eerie And bleak.My favorite was actually the most broadly comic The Way of the Cross This scabrous farce details the trials and tribulations of a small tour group in Jerusalem A miniature Ship of Fools Nearly every character gets their very personalized and often quite cruel comeuppance except for an ingenious child, who miraculously escapes punishment but give him time The worst, most excruciating embarrassment was surprisingly reserved for the irritable Reverend Babcock, forced to lead this band of snobs and hypocrites and liars Poor Reverend I actually thought du Maurier would leave him unscathed Possibly because I saw myself in him, haha But du Maurier makes it clear that a Reverend should not see himself as above his flock, even if he is in charge of a flock of assholes Anyway, I laughed a lot in this story, I laughed until I choked.

  3. says:

    The first three stories in this collection Don t Look Now, Not After Midnight, and A Border Line Case are absolutely wonderful They re very atmospheric and, at times, chilling I d recommend this whole collection on those stories alone However, it s the final two works The Way of the Cross and The Breakthrough that really let down this collection and thus rob it of a four star rating They re two bland stories that don t really offer much and only exist to disappoint.

  4. says:

    Happy Short Story Month May, 2017 This is a collection of five short stories by Daphne du Maurier Don t Look Now, The Breakthrough, Not After Midnight, A Border Line Case, The Way of the Cross which exhibit the great versatility and inventiveness of the author The topics vary from psychic precognition, to scientific experimentation, to possible murder, to incest, and finally to various forms of public humiliation atonement for sins All were interesting but I found some of the endings a bit disappointing All in all worth reading but I have to say I appreciate du Maurier s full length novels .

  5. says:

    An interesting collection full of stories of subtle and in some cases, not so subtle horror and suspense My favourite was definitely the title story, Don t Look Now, and sadly, some stories didn t really work for me, hence the 3 star rating.

  6. says:

    This is part of my treasured Folio collection and its a cracker The book collects Daphne du Maurier s macabre stories together which span her writing career The book contains several famous short stories which I am sure have been succinctly and creatively reviewed than I could have achieved plus I do not give spoilers.I think the only exception would be the Birds the last story in this collected edition and one which was the basis of Hitchcocks classic The reason why I focus on this one is that I can be a little lenient with my no spoilers since I am sure everything has either heard or seen the film plus I had a rather strange experience this morning which brought the story in to focus.I long thought that the scene in the film with the crows in the play ground was a little contrived stay with me you will get there as it was well know that Hitchcock would not mind bending a few rules if it meant a better cinematic experience Well I thought that the way the birds sounded and acted was a little false.that was till this morning when outside the house where there is a very large tree a large number of crows started to form and yes they sounded exactly like that I later found out they were hounding a Red Kite which was circling but still it did bring that school house scene to mind.And so I set about reading the stories and considering the book was 300 pages plus I forgot how east it was to get drawn in to her work.Enough to say that the story from this book is far powerful and harrowing by the simplicity of which Ms du Maurier describes the events It is times like these that remind me that re reading a book sometimes can be even striking that reading it for the first time.

  7. says:

    A word of caution Do not confuse this book, Don t Look Now and Other Stories with Don t Look Now Selected Stories of Daphne Du Maurier They are not the same book The only things they have in common are the the title story and the author Both books are fine, mind you, but if you are participating in a group discussion and the stories you are reading aren t the same as what everyone else is reading, you will likely feel left out in the cold That said, this is a fine collection of stories by an exceptional author I really enjoyed her writing style and the the way that she was able to bring various settings around the world to life That said, I don t think any of the stories really hit it out of the park Maybe I expect from the author of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn but I felt like she set up several of the stories for a big finish and then.they just ended I award this anthology stars out of five although at least half a star is awarded out of respect for Dame Daphne.My thanks to the folks at the Horror Aficionados group for giving me the opportunity to read and discuss this and many other fine books.

  8. says:

    Don t Look at AllFrankly speaking, my first encounter was with Nicholas Roeg s film starring Donald Sutherland and a wonderful Julie Christie, rather than with Daphne du Maurier s short story itself, and I have consequently always asked myself why the title is Don t Look Now Of course, that was not the only question I was left with after watching Roeg s fascinating screen adaptation of du Maurier s story because Roeg is a lot ambiguous, opaque and equivocal in his approach to the original and he overwhelms his spectators with powerful symbolism into the bargain.Nevertheless, after reading the five tales included in this collection, I started thinking whether they might not have something in common apart from the skilful, suggestive yet unobtrusive prose they are written in , uniting every single one of them Saying this, I don t even know, hardly knowing the first thing at all about du Maurier, whether these five stories were originally included in one collection or whether their joint appearance in one volume is simply due to a publisher s choice Be that as it may, if it is the latter, it can be said to be a felicitous choice all the same because, as the title of the collection implies, all five tales are or less about people s tendency to deceive themselves, to give in to denial behaviour and to suppress part of their inner lives Sometimes, this is quite a wise decision, sometimes it isn t.The titular story, Don t Look Now, is probably the one known best An English couple, John and Laura, lost their little daughter due to meningitis and are now spending a holiday in Venice, in the hopes of coming to terms with the death of their child The appearance of two old Scottish ladies, however, makes them face their recent loss again because the two women claim that they can see the spirit of their dead child sitting next to them While the wife immediately warms to the old ladies and wants information about her daughter, the husband is annoyed because he undertook the trip in order to help his wife forget about their daughter, and now he finds those crones telling his wife that their dead child is actually with them all the time Besides, he strongly suspects them of being fraudulent freaks Throughout the novel one can sense that John s primary intention is to keep his tender feelings, amongst them his grief for his daughter, under control, and apparently for him it is advisable to forget than to integrate sad and sorrowful memories into his life To cope, for him means to move on, and that is also what he expects his wife to do Still, it is not easy to live up to this determination, and so the way he sees Venice is often redolent of reminiscences of death, as for example when in the evening, apart from the hustle and bustle of tourist life, the long narrow boats moored to the slippery steps of cellar entrances looked like coffins When in the end, he complains about the silly way he dies, this may partly be because someone who never faces the inevitability of death will probably be condemned to a silly way of living in the first place, which will inevitably be rounded off with a silly way of dying The second story, Not After Midnight, presents us to a history teacher at a preparatory school, a man who says about himself Vices, up to the present, literally none Which is not being self complacent, but the truth is that my life has been uneventful by any standard Nor has this bothered me I am probably a dull man Emotionally I have had no complications Our narrator, Timothy Grey a fitting name , may refute the charge of self complacency, but we needn t believe him, and what is or less, depending how you see it , he is most definitely a dull, conceited man Nevertheless, when he chances to get involved with a mysterious American couple, his eventless life gets into motion and he discovers a darker side within himself, which he tries to ascribe to a hideous Grecian artefact that allegedly exerts a baleful influence on him Of course, of course, it s usually the artefact, isn t it The story will probably baffle you for it denies you a clear explanation of the things that happen, but then you should not forget it is told by a first person narrator The weakest story in this collection is entitled A Border Line Case and it is about a 19 year old actress whose father recently died From what she gathers about his last words, she feels obliged to patch up his relationship, vicariously, with a former friend and army colleague of his, a man who lives as a recluse on a little island set within an Irish lough Thinking at first that she is in the presence of a madman her reception was, indeed, conducive to such a conclusion young Shelagh finally falls for this man who is old enough to be her father And since there is hardly anything that prepares the reader for such a development, nothing really in the way of character development or plausibility, one may safely assume that the fact that the vet is old enough to be her father may explain something about Shelagh as well By the way, the story will then move towards a rather outr , albeit predictable twist Rather clever and entertaining is the fourth story, The Way of the Cross, where we have a group of English tourists they might think of themselves as pilgrims of some sorts in Jerusalem, trying to acquire a feeling how Jesus might have gone through his last hours before the crucifixion But also trying to flaunt their knowledge, their piety, their moral standards, or to get into the knickers of a woman on her wedding trip This wonderfully malicious story reminded me a lot of Katherine Ann Porter s Ship of Fools, which is another example of intelligent character dissection Some of du Maurier s pilgrims will not be spared their comeuppance when circumstance makes them overhear people telling truths about themselves they would never have thought possible, or when even worse and humiliating catastrophes befall them There is little justice in this, however, in that it is not the worst of them who are made to suffer For all that, this brilliant story, although not really plot driven, is a perfect excursion into the deep shallows of human nature The collection concludes with The Breakthrough, a story in which a scientist is given the assignment to work with a colleague whose reputation is somewhat tainted by rumours of strange or useless experiments he makes This latter man, by the name of MacLean, lost his wife years ago, and as our narrator finds out he is now working on a way of preserving the basic vital energy he is careful to make it clear that he does not think of it in terms of a soul that exudes the body in the moment of death and usually gets lost in the air What a waste of energy Just imagine how the energy stored in this spark of life could be used productively probably even carbon neutrally While this rather freakish pipe dream may be the result of MacLean s failure to come to terms with the loss of his wife in a way, in yet another way it shows capitalism and utilitarianism at their worst Not content to exploit human energy and creativity while humans are alive, or to regard the dead body as a depot for human spare parts, the idea now lies in turning the divine spark itself into disposable energy This is the most frightening thought I came across in the whole book, and du Maurier has a deft hand at developing the moral implications This was my first book by du Maurier, and on the whole I was very intrigued by her skill at handling various situations, conjuring up diverse settings and showing us elementary truths about human nature in so many different ways.

  9. says:

    Just an extra word or two if you ve never seen the spectacular 1973 Italian British film Don t Look Now, it s definitely one you should watch because it s truly a classic This collection of stories has inspired film and television for years, it s been released in numerous editions and it deals with difficult topics such as grief, a subject often not spoken of back in the day Each of these stories has a moral message within its words, and beautiful worldly imagery and excellent suspense aside, each story has something new to offer.

  10. says:

    Don t Look Now Not After Midnight A Border Line Case The Way of the Cross The Breakthrough

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