Don't Look Now: Selected Stories of Daphne Du Maurier

Don't Look Now: Selected Stories of Daphne Du Maurier


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An NYRB Original

Daphne 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590172889
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 10/28/2008
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 105,750
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

DAPHNE DU MAURIER (1907-1989)was the daughter of the legendary actor-manager Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author of the vastly successful late-Victorian novel Trilby and cartoonist for the magazine Punch. She grew up in London and Cornwall, where she would settle as an adult. Du Maurier published her first novel when she was twenty-three and would go on to write seventeen more, many of them best-sellers, including My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn, and Rebecca, one of the most popular novels of the twentieth century. In addition to her fiction, du Maurier wrote several family biographies, a biography of Branwell Brontë, a study of Cornwall, two plays, and a good deal of journalism. She was married to Tommy “Boy” Browning and was the mother of three children.

PATRICK MCGRATH is the author of two story collections and seven novels, including Port Mungo, Dr. Haggard’s Disease, Spider, (which he also adapted for the screen), and most recently, Trauma. Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution won Italy’s Premio Flaiano Prize, and his 1996 novel, Asylum, was short-listed for both the Whitbread and the Guardianfiction prizes. McGrath is the co-editor of a collection of short fiction, The New Gothic. He lives in New York.

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Don't Look Now: Selected Stories of Daphne Du Maurier 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
figre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you have not read the short story upon which Alfred Hitchcock¿s movie ¿The Birds¿ is based, then you have not¿ (Wait a minute. You haven¿t seen ¿The Birds¿? NO! Well, leave, right now, rent it, steal it, whatever you have to do. Go watch that. Okay. Done? Watched it now? Sheesh, who are some of these people? Where was I? Oh, yeah.) If you haven¿t read the short story, then you have only tasted a piece of the terror that this story can bring. I¿m old enough to remember when people were shocked by the ending of the movie (I won¿t give it away), how they were appalled at the non-ending. Read the short story. You¿ll gain a greater understanding of how an unresolved conflict really tells a greater story.So, to say I¿m a fan of this story is a bit of an understatement. Which means I feel that any book containing this Daphne Du Maurier classic is already worth the purchase. But this is more than one of Du Maurier¿s stories ¿ this is a collection. Prior to this book, my only experience was with that one short story. This collection proves that I need to get moving and discover more of her work.The stories contained here are suspenseful, macabre, creepy, and, above all, compelling. Du Maurier generally starts simply ¿ you feel you are visiting the lives of everyday people. But the normalcy starts to turn, and ordinary residents of these stories soon find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. For example, the first story (¿Don¿t Look Now¿) starts with a couple who, we eventually learn, are visiting Venice to try and get away from the recent death of their young daughter. The wife meets two sisters who are psychic and, as the husband dismisses their visions, he finds himself wrapped up in them. In the story ¿Split Second¿, we learn about a widow who is coming to grips with being alone ¿ both because of her husband¿s death a few years ago and her daughter attending a boarding school. The woman goes for a walk and returns home to find things turned completely around.My descriptions are boring. That is because, as I said, the stories seem to start with the mundane. But Du Maurier, even in describing the mundane lives of people, draws you into the tales. And, before you know it, the story has been warped and you are wrapped in the lives and the story.Not every story is perfect. The editor has purposely chosen a broad range of stories and it seems that this effort has resulted in the selection of some weaker ones. And speaking of that editor, an important warning about this particular collection: Do not read the Introduction prior to reading the stories. It describes every story and would, I imagine, take away the enjoyment of discovery within the stories. I can only imagine because I saw where the Introduction was headed and avoided it until I was done with the collection. Avoid the introduction. Do not avoid the collection.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don¿t Look Now is a collection of nine short stories that Daphne Du Maurier published between 1952 and 1980. Daphne Du Maurier¿s writing runs the gamut from straight historical to suspense/thriller, so I was intrigued to see what her stories would be like.These stories cover much of Du Maurier¿s career, and they¿re all stunning. She takes what are seemingly ordinary people and subjects and turns the story into something far more sinister. From the arresting opening story, in which a couple are grieving the loss of their child and take a holiday to Venice, to a story in which England¿s birds attack the human population, to a story in which a woman has eye surgery and wakes to view the inner beast in humans, these stories are amazing and contain a lot of significance, even though some of them are a couple of pages long. Any one of these stories could have been made into an Alfred Hitchcock film; and I¿d swear that M. Night Shyamalan used ¿Split Second¿ as inspiration for The Sixth Sense. The collection itself is great because all of these stories connect in some way to the others. My personal favorite story in this collection is the titular ¿Don¿t Look Now¿¿Daphne Du Maurier at her best. This is a collection not to be missed if you¿re a fan of the author like I am, or like short stories.
Marensr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
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Sonnyci More than 1 year ago
Great book of short stories. All of them in it worth reading. It was nice to finally read the original version of "The Birds" which was nothing like the movie, but still equally as frightening.
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