Read The Birds & Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier Free Online
Book Title: The Birds & Don't Look Now|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 844 KB
v The author of the book: Daphne du Maurier
Edition: The Copyright Group
Date of issue: May 1st 2008
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books The Birds & Don't Look Now:I read Rebecca relatively recently, and it was not my favorite because I find it hard to take melodrama seriously. Really, it's that hard to fire an aggressively mean housekeeper. But even at that, I was highly impressed by du Maurier's style: Mrs. De Winter's milquetoast personality and pearl-clutchy narration drove me nuts, but it was absolutely intentional and a masterful feat of characterization—the other characters talked like rational, recognizable humans. I probably would have enjoyed the book had it been told from somebody else's point of view!
These two short stories drive this home: du Maurier was a genius, of story and of style. The good news is that neither "The Birds" nor "Don't Look Now" are the least bit overwrought. They are, however, creepy as hell.
Full disclosure: I downloaded this audiobook after discovering that there will be no Doctor Who in 2016, excepting a Christmas special. Naturally feeling anxious, I was happy to find this one narrated by Peter Capaldi (speaking RP, not Scots...which threw me at first). I'm so glad I did.
I've always been a fan of the Hitchcock movie, but the source material for the "The Birds" couldn't be more different. It's a tight, sparse story set in Cornwall, and it's far darker than the movie. No romance. No lovebirds...or "lovebirds." It's one of the most perfect short stories I've heard, on par with Shirley Jackson or Flannery O'Connor. The avian invasion is definitely a metaphor for something...but whether it's the blitz or Communism (my vote) or modernity, it's hard to say. One thing is for sure, birds are freaky bastards. We all know this.
Toward the end, the main character confronts his fate (not without some flicker of hope):
Nat listened to the tearing sound of splintering 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 deft precision of machines.
SO GOOD. And with a great economy of words that I was wanting in Rebecca.
"Don't Look Now" was more suspenseful, somehow. I haven't seen the movie, but definitely will. It takes place in Venice and involves creepy twins, which is solid.
Read information about the authorIf 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 more 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 family with a rich artistic and historical background, the daughter of a famous actor-manager, she was indulged as a child and grew up enjoying enormous freedom from financial and parental restraint. She spent her youth sailing boats, travelling on the Continent with friends, and writing stories. A prestigious publishing house accepted her first novel when she was in her early twenties, and its publication brought her not only fame but the attentions of a handsome soldier, Major (later Lieutenant-General Sir) Frederick Browning, whom she married.
Her subsequent novels became bestsellers, earning her enormous wealth and fame. While Alfred Hitchcock's film based upon her novel proceeded to make her one of the best-known authors in the world, she enjoyed the life of a fairy princess in a mansion in Cornwall called Menabilly, which served as the model for Manderley in Rebecca.
Daphne du Maurier was obsessed with the past. She intensively researched the lives of Francis and Anthony Bacon, the history of Cornwall, the Regency period, and nineteenth-century France and England, Above all, however, she was obsessed with her own family history, which she chronicled in 'Gerald: a Portrait', a biography of her father; 'The du Mauriers', a study of her family which focused on her grandfather, George du Maurier, the novelist and illustrator for Punch; 'The Glassblowers', a novel based upon the lives of her du Maurier ancestors; and 'Growing Pains', an autobiography that ignores nearly 50 years of her life in favour of the joyful and more romantic period of her youth. Daphne du Maurier can best be understood in terms of her remarkable and paradoxical family, the ghosts which haunted her life and fiction.
While contemporary writers were dealing critically with such subjects as the war, alienation, religion, poverty, Marxism, psychology and art, and experimenting with new techniques such as the stream of consciousness, du Maurier produced 'old-fashioned' novels with straightforward narratives that appealed to a popular audience's love or fantasy, adventure, sexuality and mystery. At an early age, she recognised that her readership was comprised principally of women, and she cultivated their loyal following through several decades by embodying their desires and dreams in her novels and short stories.
In some of her novels, however, she went beyond the technique of the formulaic romance to achieve a powerful psychological realism reflecting her intense feelings about her father, and to a lesser degree, her mother. This vision, which underlies 'Julius', 'Rebecca' and 'The Parasites', is that of an author overwhelmed by the memory of her father's commanding presence. In 'Julius' and 'The Parasites,' for example, she introduces the image of a domineering but deadly father and the daring subject of incest.
In 'Rebecca', on the other hand, du Maurier fuses psychological realism with a sophisticated version of the Cinderella story. The nameless heroine has been saved from a life of drudgery by marrying a handsome, wealthy aristocrat, but unlike the Prince in Cinderella, Maxim de Winter is old enough to be the narrator's father. The narrator thus must do battle with The Other Woman - the dead Rebecca and her witch-like surrogate, Mrs Danvers - to win the love of her husband and father-figure.
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