Friday, March 21, 2014

Don't Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier

Daphne DuMaurier is a very interesting writer.  When I opened Rebecca (DuMaurier's most famous novel), I fell in love.  I read the story through twice and it continued to haunt me.  It is a book that I still return to regularly
Crocuses!  Pictures in this post are of spring sightings.
However, Rebecca is the only one of DuMaurier's books that I have ever really enjoyed.  I read Jamaica Inn and liked it, but didn't adore it.  I didn't like the heroine and there was something odd about DuMaurier's writing style.  Then I attempted My Cousin Rachel and enjoyed it even less.  Two weeks ago, when I was at the library, I was browsing through DuMaurier's many works, thinking, "I need to get over this aversion and read something else by Daphne."
Pink rhubarb noses poking out of the ground!
Unfortunately, Don't Look Now, a collection of haunting short stories written in the 60s was my least favorite of all of DuMaurier's writing.  I happily started the first short story one drizzly evening and prepared to enjoy a good shiver.  At first, the story was very enjoyable, with a set of psychic twin sisters in Italy and two grieving parents.  But then, as I moved through the story, I started to frown.  A story that had great potential to be a good, eerie yarn, went down a gruesome path, ending (Spoiler Alert!) with the main character getting an ax thrown through his head by a dwarf woman.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good, haunting thriller, but this was too eccentric and gory to be thrilling.   I stopped reading. "Huh?" I said.  I skimmed the rest of the stories and found them just as odd.  I firmly shut the book and finished up the evening with something a little lighter.

Another kitty shot
In my opinion, Rebecca is the exception that proves the rule.  I don't particularly like DuMaurier's writing style, but she did manage to produce one pretty wonderful book.  So, I highly recommend Rebecca, but don't bother reading any of DuMaurier's other writings, unless you like lots of the supernatural and a very dark writing style.

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