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The Breakthrough

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  931 ratings  ·  135 reviews
ISBN13 is 9780241339206

Dispatch the maimed, the old, the weak, destroy the very world itself, for what is the point of life if the promise of fulfilment lies elsewhere?

On the windswept coast of rural Suffolk, a deranged scientist attempts to extract the essence of life itself.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spiritof the iconic Penguin Modern Clas

Paperback, Penguin Modern, 58 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by Penguin (first published 1966)
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Jan Yes, I agree somewhat. I read My Cousin Rachel recently, and others of hers a while ago, and compared to them, this book seemed rushed and the charact…moreYes, I agree somewhat. I read My Cousin Rachel recently, and others of hers a while ago, and compared to them, this book seemed rushed and the characters weren't greatly defined.
This book felt to me like a plot for a story before it's been actually executed. The ideas were fantastic and thought provoking, but the actual story didn't do justice to the subject.
I also agree with Jason that du Maurier was ahead of her time with aspects of technology in this book, but it didn't quite work for me.(less)

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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  931 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Dannii Elle
Just further proof that du Maurier is queen of everything and can do no wrong!
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction

* Rated 3.5 stars

My first taste of du Maurier, at last! I’ve been meaning to delve into her books for awhile now – especially Rebecca – and I figured this one would be the perfect little taster to get me started. And I wasn’t wrong! Definitely more on the SciFi side of things, this one follows a scientist as he tries to discover the secret behind the afterlife, or the essence of life itself. Without feeling too short or too long, du Maurier managed to
Abbie | ab_reads
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A good little story that reminded me of Frankenstein, but more sci fi-y!
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
And so, once again, Daphne Dear, you had me enthralled, seduced, chilled to my bone and...moved to tears!

'What?' I hear you asking that. Let me explain.

It is true that this crisp, slim short story belongs quite comfortably to the eerie, metaphysical thriller genre, centering on a ragtag band of not-quite-prudent scientists who are working on a strange experiment on a remote spot near the coast. It has the echoes of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P Lovecraft but while those American legends, at one level
Zuky the BookBum
This is my second read of this story and I much preferred it this time around.

Full of incredible atmosphere and eerie feelings. A creepy little horror sci-fi!

And only £1? What a steal!
Alice Lippart
Somewhat interesting story, but feels short and leaves too many questions unanswered. Characters were bland, but the atmosphere was amazing.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“With eternity assured, the human being on earth is more easily expendable.”

A creepy little mad-scientist type of story.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Daphne du Maurier's short story The Breakthrough has been reprinted by itself as the third book of the Penguin Moderns series. I have read it before, but was very much looking forward to coming back to it. Whilst not quite amongst my favourite pieces of her short work, there is so much here to admire. First published in 1966, 'The Breakthrough' still surprises and startles, even upon a second reading. I found this a chilling tale, and whilst I do not want to give any details of the plot away in ...more
Callum McLaughlin
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
As always, du Maurier is a master at setting the scene and creating an evocative and tangible atmosphere that instantly transports me. In this tale, however, she shows her diversity by delving into the realms of sci-fi.

The juxtaposition of the rugged beauty of the landscape and the technology of the research facility worked really well. I also loved the moral ambiguity of the story. The fact that the 'weak' (a terminally ill young man, an animal, and an 'idiot child') are used as guinea pigs in
Melania 🍒

A very interesting idea and for sure Daphne du Maurier’s writing is extremely atmospheric. If you never tried one of her books and you’d like a taste of her writing, this could be a very decent start (again, especially for the way she can convey a gothic atmosphere so well).
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
My father always recommended Rebecca by du Maurier, possibly because he had worked for her husband, General Browning, in Ceylon in WW2, and for that reason took an interest in her writing. Whatever the reason for his recommendation, I never took to Rebecca - I think I started it twice and gave up out of boredom both times. So when I saw this slim volume (The Breakthrough) by du Maurier, I decided to try it and see if a completely different genre (sci-fi) might make her work more appealing to me. ...more
Holly (spoopyhol)
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘Dispatch the maimed, the old, the weak, destroy the very world itself, for what is the point of life is the promise of fulfilment lies elsewhere?’

‘A scientists attempt to solve the mystery of life after death has chilling consequences.’

Du Maurier can write anything I swear, this teeny short story packs such a punch and is so different from Jamaica Inn (the only other book I’ve read by her) that it makes me believe that she can write anything and it’ll sit beautifully in her collection of works!
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this atmospheric little sci-fi story more than I did. Du Maurier's writing is of course terrific, and it's fun to see her writing a story like this after having read Rebecca, a much more flowery gothic novel, last year. But in the end, paradoxically enough, I think this needed to be longer. The characters needed more fleshing out, as did the climax, which felt rushed. The weighty philosophical and ethical repercussions of the protagonists' experiments arise and are decided withi ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note to future self - you did not read this book, you read The Breakthrough, a short story by Daphe Du Maurier. You were frustrated that it wasn’t longer because you were really enjoying it, and were also annoyed that your goodreads shelves are ruined because two books share the same ISBN for some bizarre reason.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: female-writers
Not my favourite thing by Du Maurier but I liked it nevertheless. It's an interesting take on science fiction as always it was a good read but I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point with her.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mad science...

Our narrator, Stephen Saunders, is an electronics engineer who has been sent to work in an isolated facility in Saxmere on the east coast of England, where the scientist James MacLean is carrying out secret experiments in creating methods of destruction for the military. Saunders isn’t thrilled at the assignment, since MacLean has a dubious reputation as an eccentric. He meets the people who will be his colleagues: MacLean, or Mac as he’s known; young Ken Ryan, who doesn’t seem to
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first introduction to Daphne Du Maurier and I can only say I want more! This was a great story about a scientist who becomes too wrapped up in his desire to solve the mystery of death. The gloomy setting added to the eerie feel of the story and I liked that the main character was torn between being sceptical about the whole insane endeavour and getting sucked in by the scientist's obsession. I can't wait to read more Du Maurier!
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is very different to what I expect from Daphne and all the better for it; brings to mind the mad CIA-funded experiments discussed in Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare At Goats—but it predates those experiments by a long shot.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is an excellent short story. Will read more of her work.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
An immersive story, but my interest waned as it went on. The pacing rushes a little in the third act. I think it’s a story that might have worked better with an obscured ending.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is kind of the perfect short story for me—it has a bit of modern Frankenstein feel to me and it's written by one of my favourite authors. Little different from what I'm used to from du Maurier, but good nonetheless.
3.5* or 4* star read. I can't decide.

An enjoyable little story about scientific experiments into life after death. In less than 60 pages manages to have suspense, sci-fi and leave you with plenty of curiosity.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
For such a short story I felt du Maurier's writing was shining. I could see how the plot could've been boring to me, but instead, I swallowed this story in no time. The idea was fascinating and mystery and the dark side of it kept the atmosphere moody and thrilling. I could almost see the mentioned things happening. The novel quite well discusses the dangers of scientific research if it is taken too far, and the unknown of scientific research and possibilities, and criticises whether we should t ...more
Contrary Reader
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spooky-reads
If there is one things Daffers can do, it is write a short story. This one is distinctly Sci Fi- with a Jamesian atmosphere. The sense of place and time extraordinary- it is like you are within the pages. Suitably chilled and a great introduction to her range, if you have yet to get to her writing
Zoe (readabilitea)
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable little story reminiscent of Frankenstein and also that episode of BBC's Sherlock about the Hound of the Baskervilles. The ending leaves a little bit to be desired but the suspense throughout is expertly done.
Aimee Hyndman
Note to self: this was The Breakthrough. Two books listed under same ISBN annoyingly.
Emily Ryder
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I got the idea this was going to be a much more disturbing story by the blurb but I ended up finding this a bit anticlimactic.
3.5 ⭐️

A well-written, interesting little story, blending elements of horror and sci-fi. I wish it was longer though as the ending fell a bit flat for me!
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good fiction
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN on wrong book? 4 17 Mar 05, 2018 11:54AM  

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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 a fairy tale. Born into a fami

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