The Birds and Other Stories
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The Birds and Other Stories

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  2,741 ratings  ·  153 reviews
The idea for this famous story came to du Maurier one day when she was walking across to Menabilly Barton farm from the house. She saw a farmer busily ploughing a field whilst above him the seagulls were diving and wheeling. She developed an idea about the birds becoming hostile and attacking him. In her story, the birds become hostile after a harsh winter with little food...more
Paperback, 237 pages
Published December 1977 by Pan Macmillan (first published 1952)
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in calculating my enjoyment of this collection, i might have made a mathematical error. there are six stories in this collection, and i only disliked one of them. granted, the one i disliked was the longest story, which gives it more negative weight, but my love of the last story was so great that i think i shall round this up to four stars.


since there are only six stories, it is not a trial for me to review them separately.

The Birds

yeah, we've all seen the movie.

but du maurier's story...more
This collection of short stories was a spontaneous purchase in a secondhand book store. The title story is prominently displayed on the front cover and that made me curious. I really had no idea that Daphne du Maurier was the author of 'The Birds'. Well, it proved to be a very intriguing collection of supernatural stories. They were a joy to read as they are all written in a very elegant and haunting prose. The stories ranged from the apocalyptic to the mysterious, varying in atmosphere from tal...more
After loving Don't Look Now & Other Stories, I felt compelled to move straight on to another compilation of Daphne du Maurier short stories. I enjoyed this collection almost as much as Don't Look Now: while they aren't all up to exactly the same standard, each story is intriguing, unsettling and atmospheric, and many of them have an incredible twist which either slowly unfolds throughout the narrative or is suddenly revealed at the very end - sometimes both.

Monte Verità
Told in first person b...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Ah how I love du Maurier! Her mind must have been a weird and wonderful place, and I love the window her stories give into it. The stories in this collection are:
"The Birds" (pp. 7-43)
"Monte Verita" (pp. 44-113)
"The Apple Tree" (pp. 114-157)
"The Little Photographer" (pp. 158-201)
"Kiss Me Again, Stranger" (pp. 202-226)
"The Old Man" (pp. 227-237)

I'll go through each of these separately, because they deserve it.

I have never seen Hitchcock's The Birds, but I've seen the famous beach scene and Big Tr...more
The Birds is clearly the strongest story in this re-issued collection of six of Daphne du Maurier's short stories and is rightly the titular one. The inspiration for Hitchcock's classic film of the same name, I was surprised to see how much liberty Hitch had taken with the story. Instead of a couple in sunny Bodega Bay, California, the story is a claustrophobic tale of a farming family in Cornwall when suddenly the birds turn vicious. The story feels very close and dark; the shorter cycles of li...more
Film critic David Thomson observes in an intro that Hitchcock only used DdMs basic idea for "The Birds." He's often a dandy writer, but his remarks here pivot on the obvious. Hitch, who had his scripter concoct a romantic story about love birds and a jealous Mum-bird, opted for a Freudian disaster. DdM, it has been suggested, was thinking of Cold War politics as a farmer and his family expect to be pecked to death in Cornwall. It's a horrific tale of Judgment Day.

A writer of best-selling novels,...more
If only everyone had half Daphne du Maurier's flair with narrators, I wouldn't be wary of first person narratives at all. I love the way she writes: it feels dated, of course, but that just seems part of the flavour of her stories for me. And her skill with twists -- I don't know why her short stories aren't used more in creative writing classes, because they really demonstrate the power of the sting in the tail of a story.

Anyway, I'm not sure which was my favourite story from this book. All of...more
There's a chilling quality to the tranquility of Daphne du Maurier's words, and this is clearly evident in short stories "The Birds". Hitchcock based his horror "The Birds" on du Maurier's short story, although the short story is set in the English coast. It starts innocently enough, with a flock of birds suddenly flocking to the ocean. There is no explanation given as to why these birds suddenly behave that way, only that they do. In a way that adds to the heavy chilling silence that brings abo...more
Diane S.
I read the main story in this book many, many years ago but as soon as I started reading, The Birds, I realized how well I remembered this. She is such a fantastic story writer. I also loved "Apple Tree, though sad and Loved "The Old man, whose ending blowed me away.

Copy from NetGalley.
Arun Divakar
These are the five six stories in this book (in my first review, I forgot a brilliant little tale !) :

1. Birds : The inspiration for the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie but entirely different in terms of the story. It tells us of a small family's struggle against the vicious birds on a day-by-day basis. What is frigthening about the tale is that there is no end in sight. The family is gritty and determined to see it through the crisis but the tale ends on a bleak note. The most atmospheric of all...more
I only read The Birds from this short story collection. It was very different than the Hitchcock movie, but almost better because there was no romantic undertones. Very creepy and moody, exactly what I expected of DdM's writing.
It never really occurred to me that Daphne du Maurier would have written anything of particular interest to me but then I heard about this collection of "chilling" stories, I thought I should give it a go. And I'm very glad I did.

It is a long time since I saw Hitchcock's "The Birds" but, judging by the introduction, that's probably just as well. Anyhow, I really enjoyed this story, it had a great apocalyptic feel to it and a sense of hopelessness and despair for humanity, despite the father's de...more
ARC for review.

I vividly remember reading Rebecca for the first time and I loved it so much that I'm surprised I never sought out anything else by duMaurier. This six story collection reinforces that feeling as most of the stories are the type of dark fiction that I really enjoy, very reminiscent of Shirley Jackson.

Don't come to "The Birds" expecting the story of the movie (the foreward to the book discusses the relationship between the movie and the book) but it's wonderfully atmospheric, as a...more
Nicola Mansfield
This is my very first Daphne Du Maurier read and it will not be the last. The stories varied in quality but I enjoyed them all to some degree. The writing was superb, whether I liked the story or not. Can't wait to read her most famous works.

1. The Birds - This is one of my favourite Hitchcock movies and the story is so different from the movie that it is hard to not compare it to the movie. I can see how Hitchcock used the atmosphere of the story and pulled a couple of scenes from it. I think I...more
Although I had previously read several stories in this book, my Japanese ESL student and I have agreed to read it as our next project. She is extremely enthusiastic about it, in part because she remembers Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds. I always look forward to reading DuMaurier!
Lisa Dee
Brilliant story and one I regularly recommend to friends. I can't imagine anyone not thinking it's cool.

I think critics are quite right is calling this a cold war parable - if only because of the description of the nuclear winter landscape and that bitter East wind.

I love the fact that no one has the slightest explanation for why nature would suddenly turn against mankind in such a deadly and unforgiving way. du Maurier cuts her characters off in such a brutal and claustrophobic fashion that I d...more
What if the birds all got together, I mean all of them, got organized, and decided to take over at the top of the food chain? This means they decided that we would make for good eating.
Here’s the plot in brief. Farm laborer notices that the birds are acting strange. (Sorry guys, no gratuitious blond in this plot that was all Hitchcock.) Farm laborer and children are attacked in their home that same night by swallows. Wife thinks he’s exaggerating the whole thing. (Why do wives always think that?...more
'The Birds' is one of the best modern horror short stories I've read in a while. It is extremely gripping and I was hungry for more when it ended. Although the threat seems ridiculous, du Maurier made it seem all-too credible and in a Day of the Triffids-esque way demonstrated how society could quickly unravel when faced with an unexpected and truly weird threat. Aside from that, telling the story through the medium of an everyman family, with their worries firstly not being taken seriously, wer...more
There's an immediate chill about "The Birds" that thrilled me with the story. There's a chaos, a calm and a turning of the tide. I got a sense of an old ally turning on us at last, taking flight against us in the aftermath of our own carnages.

I had got it into my mind that Du Maurier was a spook writer, that but for "Rebecca" she wrote timid love stories and predictable mysteries. This is not the case. She had, I acknowledge now, some very powerful tools that she worked upon her fiction.

Other me...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juli Rahel
Daphne du Maurier's stories, such as The Birds, Jamaica Inn and Rebecca, have all been immortalised on the silver screen by Hitchcock and yet I had, until today, never read any of her books or short story collections. The danger of books being adapted into films is that people tend to then not read the books, despite there always being differences, apart from the fact that reading something is wholly different from seeing something. It was with this in mind I picked up The Birds and Other Storie...more
Ally Atherton

I have read lots of short story collections over the years, ranging from Horror to Sci-Fi to Crime Fiction and with mixed results. Some have been very good, whilst others have been average and some downright forgettable. I guess my favourite collections have always been of the Stephen King variety, even though there are always one or two standout stories amongst a few weaker ones.

This collection gets off to an explosive and gripping start with The Birds, I was surprised how different it was from...more
Daphne du Maurier is first-rate storyteller, and so often not given the credit she is due. This collection of 6 stories, which includes The Birds, so memorably made into a film by Hitchcock (although for my money the story is much better than the film) is an excellent demonstration of her powers. Mistress of the chilling and the suspenseful, her stories are always well-crafted and well-structured, with impeccable pacing, and expert handling of character and plot. There’s a whole world to be foun...more
The story behind the movie The Birds caught my eye--who hasn't been frightened by that movie? The book was full of slightly creepy short stories, not blatantly frightening in a Stephen King sort of way but understated and atmospheric.

The basic plot of The Birds was the same as the movie (birds attack people) but the story and characters were completely different. Du Maurier sticks with one person's perspective so we never really know what's happening with anything else.

I loved the story Monte Ve...more
Before the Whispernet gods delivered Daphne du Maurier's The Birds and Other Stories to my oft-neglected Kindle, the only du Maurier I'd read was the beloved Rebecca. Now I know why Alfred Hitchcock loved her stories so much. I do have this to say: Hitchcock's version is laughable compared to the original, and the title story is only the beginning.

This collection includes The Birds; Monte Verita; The Apple Tree; The Little Photographer; Kiss Me Again, Stranger and The Old Man. These six engrossi...more
I've just reread this uneven collection of stories, bookended by two good ones. The Birds is fabulous, better than the film, lacking its Hitchcockian motif of 'glamourous blonde under attack'. du Maurier's protagonist is a calm, competent war veteran, so his shock and growing fatalism are all the more affecting. The final story is about the Old Man, an old favourite of mine with a lovely twist.
Katherine P
Review from

I've read Rebecca probably 10 times but I've never searched out any of du Maurier's other works until now. There are definitely creepy aspects of Rebecca (Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca's old room anyone?) but in these stories du Maurier takes creepy to a whole new level. I've been scared by a book but I don't think I've ever felt the slow deliberate build up of dread that she manages to achieve in each story. The atmosphere is beautifully if drearily drawn...more
After reading Rebecca, and loving du Maurier's command of suspense within romance, character and atmosphere, I bought a stack of her books to gorge on, leaving them, as book adultress' do for a few months.
I think I've found my favorite classic writer, with very little competition, as I am lazy when it comes to sprawling prose and old English language.
The birds was a brilliantly claustrophobic story, Monte Verita was brilliant in the last half, the aple tree had brilliant command of character, Pa...more
Oscar Torrado
Irónico que la historia que le da nombre a esta recopilación de relatos haya sido una de las que menos me ha gustado (junto con "El Pequeño Fotógrafo"), "Los Pajaros" cuya historia fue levemente adaptada al cine por Alfred Hitchcock y digo levemente porque el director solo toma la idea central y hace una película totalmente diferente e independiente a la historia de Daphne, resultando en mi opinión, muy superior al relato original.

Mención especial también a "Monte Veritá" un angustioso y absorb...more
Six of the best...

If proof were needed that Daphne du Maurier knew how to tell a chilling tale, then the fact that Hitchcock chose to make three of her stories into films surely provides it. Rebecca and Jamaica Inn are both full-length novels but the third of the trio is based on the short story which provides the title for this collection. The introduction to this edition tells us that Hitchcock did not claim that his film of The Birds was an exact reproduction of du Maurier’s story. “What I do...more
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Chaos Reading: The Birds - Daphne DuMaurier 4 26 Mar 12, 2013 06:58AM  
  • Madam Crowl's Ghost & Other Stories
  • Ghost Stories
  • The Selected Stories
  • The Dead Secret
  • The Sundial
  • The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story
  • The Small Assassin
  • Tales Of Unease
  • In the Mean Time
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
  • Aurora Floyd
  • The Collected Dorothy Parker
  • My Work is Not Yet Done: Three Tales of Corporate Horror
  • Gothic Tales
  • Sugar and Other Stories
  • Selected Short Stories
  • The Dark Country
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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“ the slow sea sucked at the shore and then withdrew, leaving the strip of seaweed bare and the shingle churned, the sea birds raced and ran upon the beaches. Then that same impulse to flight seized upon them too. Crying, whistling, calling, they skimmed the placid sea and left the shore. Make haste, make speed, hurry and begone; yet where, and to what purpose? The restless urge of autumn, unsatisfying, sad, had put a spell upon them and they must flock, and wheel, and cry; they must spill themselves of motion before winter came.” 15 likes
“When she smiled it was as though she embraced the world.” 13 likes
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