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

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  74 reviews
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 imaginati...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by NYRB Classics
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David
Dec 23, 2011 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: nyrb
Daphne Du Maurier is very British. And I am very not. Her language leaves me at a cool, unengaged distance, mostly—which clearly isn't desirable for the kind of fiction she traffics in (i.e., horror, basically, but of a more cerebral variety). Two of the stories in this collection ('The Birds' and 'Don't Look Now') have been adapted into films by Alfred Hitchcock and Nicholas Roeg, respectively. In the former case, Du Maurier's story easily outshines Hitchcock's goofy, overlong film—and is certa...more
El
Feb 21, 2012 El rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Josiah, Rhonda, Kamdine
Recommended to El by: Ivan and some other GR friends
(ETA Movie Review at the end)

It's hard to review collections of short stories. I look at collections of short stories as either being good. Or bad. Rarely am I on the fence about all the stories in the set - there's usually one or two that I enjoy, probably another one or two that I thought were lame, etc.

With Don't Look Now I can't say that I liked some and didn't like others. They were all brilliant. Du Maurier had a knack for writing purely from the imagination. I saw it first in Rebecca and...more
Mike Lester
I've been in some pretty sticky situations during my stay on this rock, planet Earth, Mother Gaia, or whatever the hell we're supposed to be calling it these days, and each time, just when I think I'm about to buy the farm, my mind spins like some out of control Rolodex, memories and thoughts whirling by in an incredible, yet lucid blur, each moment of my life that led me to this point of near-death flashing by, and in that split second when I'm expecting the impact of the bullet, the knife, or...more
Sue
Another well-written book. I'm getting spoiled. I haven't read anything by DuMaurier for years and had forgotten her talent which is well displayed in these stories. No wonder that two were eventually taken for films and one by Rod Serling for The Twilight zone. And I've seen them all. Truthfully, the written word is still better. Even with the images in my mind, the stories manage to give me more feelings of dread. But that has always been the ability of a truly skilled writer in my opinion.

I...more
Joi
A collection of Daphne du Maurier's short stories, Don't Look Now reminds readers that du Maurier should be remembered for more than just gothic romances or adapted films. Including gems such as "The Blue Lenses" that tells the story of a woman whose eye surgery leaves her with better sight than she ever could have desired and "Monte Verita" that is a mix of love story, truth quest, and obsession, this collection offers a little bit for everyone. Any collection of du Maurier's would be incomplet...more
Brooke
This collection contains nine short stories of varying length, including the one that inspired Hitchcock's The Birds. All nine stories are strong, which isn't something I often find in short story collections. When I was disappointed by the Richard Matheson collection Button, Button Uncanny Stories, I think I was expecting something like this.

As with any classic, ignore the introduction until you're finished unless you want everything spoiled for you.
Declan
Nov 08, 2011 Declan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: nyrb
I found this to be an uneven collection, but there are a couple of stories (Don't Look Now and Split Second) which manage to disorientate the reader very well, and by having us see everything through the viewpoint of very unreliable narrators, we become as bewildered as they are by the failure of the world to cohere into any kind of sense. Some stories (Split Second again and Kiss Me Again, Stranger) could have worked very well as subtle interrogations of the British class system and the neuroti...more
Maren
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 re...more
Lisa
Reminiscent of Hitchcock's "Tales of the Unexpected". I enjoyed "Don't look now", and "Not after Midnight". "A Border-Line case" was mediocre, and didn't much care for the final two. This book was a random selection at the local Hospice store and will be returned for others to enjoy. An old publication so was a nice find.
Daniel
Well-written, well constructed, patient stories that nearly all veer into the supernatural. Sometimes they border on gimicks and a few of them are twilight zone material (one, "Blue Lenses," actually was a Twilight Zone episode, I think). At least one equisite little tale "La Sainte-Vierge" comes to perfect closure and then tacks on a superfluous "explanation" of something that is otherwise fully explained by the story itself. Such sporadic moments of questionable taste exihibit Du Maurier's pop...more
Alison
Aug 27, 2012 Alison rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hitchcock fans
A very tight, creepy collection of everyday gothic short stories. The title piece is a gem. And the original prose version of "The Birds" may well be informative for Hitchcock fans. There is some wonderful postwar English noir (of a sort). My favorite may be the unsettling "Lost Horizon" with Druids of "Monte Verita." Recommended
Kathryn
The title story, "The Blue Lenses," "The Birds," "Split Second" and "Kiss Me Again, Stranger" are haunting stories, dark and unforgettable. Any one of them could have been a Hitchcock film, but surprisingly the one that was, "The Birds," is much more frightening as a short story. No lovebirds here, and no happy ending: pure apocalypse.
Ronald
There seems to be some confusion in the reviews here. The cover photo of this book is for the book published by NYRB in 2008, not for the book with a similar title published a few decade ago. The contents of this book:

Introduction
Don't Look Now
The Birds
Escort
Split Second
Kiss Me Again, Stranger
The Blue Lenses
La Sainte-Vierge
Indiscretion
Monte Verita

I'm giving this book 5 stars due to the strength of the novella Monte Verita.

Some of these stories I've read before, and reviewed here at goodreads. O...more
Trish
I read the Doubleday version of this collection of short stories, published in hardcover in 1971, and found some of the stories felt dated, especially the story called The Breakthrough, which is about capturing the consciousness of an individual as they pass from life to death, holding onto the life force and attempting to chart its movements. The scientists in this story demonstrated a chilling scientific attitude with frightfully little ethical grounding. It may have been my distaste at the la...more
Ivan
It being my turn to select for my book group in October, I felt something macabre was in order. I considered “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “The Turn of the Screw,” or something by Clive Barker. I then remembered that earlier this year we read two Maugham stories ("Rain" and "The Letter" - both brilliant BTW) which proved a big hit with the members, so I thought: why not "Don't Look Now" and "The Birds"? Though I had never read these, I had seen both film versions and thought I knew what to ex...more
LaNae
We picked this up thinking it would be great reading for the Halloween season. I liked the short stories, because I could finish one during a short wait, without a big time commitment.

This edition had the following short stories:

Don't Look Now **** Psychics, peril and self-fulfilling prophecies in Venice.

The Birds ***** Disturbing, and less hopeful for than the Hitchcock version (as much as I like that too). One has to wonder how long humans can hold out.

Escort ***1/2 Mysterious aid on the high...more
Seana
I read this book for the NYRB book group which you can find (and join) it here. Like any, or at least most anthologies, it had it's highs and lows, and this was a bit more evident in this one because it started out with a couple of the heaviest hitters and then went downhill a bit, though it does close with the mesmerizing Monte Verità. Still, overall, it's a very entertaining collection of stories, and I never found the book a slog.

When you read a collection of stories by a single author, cert...more
Ben
I saw this book on Amazon and knew I had to have it so that I could read the original short story that inspired the film I loved so much. I was pleasantly surprised with my purchase, as it included several other short stories, some of which proved to be even more enjoyable than the titular tale.

Don’t Look Now involves a married couple on holiday in Italy. Their young daughter had succumbed to meningitis several months prior. The wife randomly meets a blind psychic who tells her that her daughter...more
Andy
I really enjoyed this collection on the whole, though was only really BLOWN AWAY by a couple of the stories. The way they create this tense atmosphere where you know something is going to be revealed, even if the "surprise" is often clumsy or leaving you with a "that's it?" type feeling. I don't read horror or psychological thrillers often, so this is pretty interesting territory for me.

Probably the thing that creeps me out about the reveals of each story is they way they are dealt with. Rather...more
Sasha Martinez
I don’t really know what I was expecting — something Gothic, something vaguely sepia-hued [a rather curious detail in how I read works older than fifty years]. I suppose I was ready for something quaintly Gothic. I don’t know what that means either.

Well, it was a great collection, ridiculously so — my introduction to du Maurier couldn’t have been any better. Made up of nine very long stories [thus, book's ridiculous fatness], all finely wrought [which makes for a finely wrought fat book?].

What I...more
Marissa
I was a little skeptical initially about how good this book would actually be, but it was another book that was perfect for the Halloween season and I had been thinking about it for a while. Several of the stories in this collection have been made into horror movies, most notably Hitchcock's The Birds, but also Don't Look Now and I definitely see echoes of one of the stories in the famous Twilight Zone episode, "Eye of the Beholder," but with a much more awesome twist. Anyway, I was really impre...more
Nicholas During
A bit inconsistent, to tell you the truth. Some of the stories are excellent (my favs: "Don't Look Now," "The Birds", "Monte Vièrge", "Kiss Me, Stranger"), others lagged as the reader is waiting for the expected twist to come and feels like she is wasting her time until it arrives.

The atmosphere is impressive in most of the stories, however. And weirdness is one of my favorite traits in any form of art. So it was a bit of a shame that some of the stories don't hold up, in my opinion. Still, I wo...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When this was selected for October for the NYRB Classics Group, I was willing but skeptical. I expected the stories to be similar to Rebecca, a very gothic novel which I characterized as being about "mysterious dead wives and big bleak mansions" when I read it.

I was pleasantly surprised. These still have some of the gothic tone, but there is more of a horror in the familiar that I'm used to from the old-fashioned horror short story, and Daphne du Maurier fits right into that company. Not to ment...more
Kate
I had no idea that Daphne Du Maurier had, in addition to authoring Rebecca had also written the source material for another great Hitchcock film 'The Birds.' If it is possible, the short story may be scarier. Du maurier is a master of the gothic story - the one that scares you out of your pants and keeps you up at night without resorting to violence or gore.

I liked this collection. 'The Birds' is definitely the best work here, but 'Monte Verita' and 'Split Second' were close. The other stories...more
Kristine
Collection of nine short stories. Each one reads as if it could have been a Twilight Zone episode--macabre, suspenseful, ironic, or unexpected. To me the best one is clearly the title story, "Don't Look Now," which is excellent. I would recommend this collection based on that story alone. Also included: "The Birds," on which the Hitchcock film was based; "Escort," about a ship trying to evade a submarine during wartime; "Split Second," a woman takes a walk and returns home and nothing's the same...more
Troy
Du Maurier writes tight economical stories that are propulsive and creepy. Her writing style is tense and terse, but her subject matter is eerie, violent, sexy and supernatural. When reading this, it's pretty easy to see why Hitchcock and Nicholas Roeg turned her short stories into movies.

Really great stories: "The Birds" is even better then the movie and also focuses on one sea-bound family against nature. "Split Second" is a great Twilight Zone style story. "Kiss Me Again, Stranger" is a dark...more
Conor
Daphne Du Maurier is the genius behind several of best horror and thriller films in the history of cinema, but even then, the excellence of her writing has never been fully captured on screen. This month I read, Don’t Look Now and Other Stories published by NYRB Classics and there is not one bad story in the whole collection. ”Don’t Look Now” and “The Birds” did not disappoint, despite the fact that I’d already seen and admired the big screen adaptations of these stories. However, the highlights...more
John
'Don't Look Now' had a slow start - but then it kept me reading. I figured it would make a good movie, and then I looked it up and it has been made into a movie. The twist at the ending was good, if I had thought more while I was reading, I might have guessed it. This book is a group of short stories, but I only got to read 'Don't Look Now' and 'The Birds' because it was already overdue and I didn't feel like paying more $. 'The Birds' was interesting because I had seen the movie a few years ago...more
Teresa
To me it was a very "irregular" book. There were stories that I really enjoyed (especially the last one "Monte Veritá"), and others that I couldn't care less about. It's just that I didn't feel enthralled by them, I just read them, as if casually I had found the book before me and had nothing else to do. I mean, it was not actually difficult to read, the prose is wonderful by the way. In fact, that's maybe why I didn't "drop" the book. I love the way du Maurier creates a setting for her story, h...more
Tamara
Fantastic collection of creepy stories. Favorites are "Blue Lenses" and the title story which was successfully transformed into a movie with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. A less successful movie translation was that of "The Birds" which is one of the stories included here, as well. Both the story and the film are fantastic, but I would argue that the film is not a very faithful adaptation, and I've read that Du Maurier was never pleased with it (though she loved Hitchcock's rendering of...more
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NYRB Classics: October 2011: Don't Look Now 24 51 Nov 01, 2011 10:53AM  
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2001717
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 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 that of a fairy tale. Born int...more
More about Daphne du Maurier...
Rebecca Jamaica Inn My Cousin Rachel Frenchman's Creek The House on the Strand

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