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Classics of the Macabre

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  275 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
This sumptuous volume celebrates the 80th birthday of one of the best-known and most-loved storytellers in the English language today, Daphne du Maurier.

Here are six masterpieces of the imagination, illustrated in glowing color by prize-winning artist, Michael Foreman.

Don't Look Now, a classic story of the macabre, opens the collection, followed by The Apple Tree, The Blue
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published October 21st 1987 by Doubleday (first published 1987)
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Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Classics of the Macabre is a collection of the (supposedly) Daphne du Maurier's best short stories packaged very nicely - multiple colored illustrations, gorgeous paper. As far as such collections go, it is very strong. Although the stories are satisfying to various degrees, all of them are equally spooky and suspenseful. I am amazed how well du Maurier laces her stories with so much thrill and foreboding.

My favorite in the bunch is definitely The Birds. Having never watched Hitchcock's movie a
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Classics of the Macabre is a collection of short stories by Daphne du Maurier. I had previously read another collection; The Blue Lenses and other books by du Maurier; The House on the Strand and Rebecca and the more I read, the more I've enjoyed her stories and writing style.
Classics of the Macabre contained a couple of stories I'd already read from The Blue Lenses, but I scrolled through them again to remind myself about how much I'd previously enjoyed them. This book contained 6 of her short
Deborah Markus
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book includes two of my favorite du Maurier stories -- "The Birds" and "The Blue Lenses." These are brilliant enough on their own, but Michael Foreman's gorgeous watercolor illustrations bring them vividly to life. "The Blue Lenses" especially benefits from pictures, since it's a terrifying story of how a woman's vision changes after what should have been a routine operation. Getting to see what she sees makes the story so much more gripping.

"The Alibi" also benefits quite directly from ill
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: suspense, fiction, stories
Speaking of the weird stories of du Maurier, read these if you haven't already. "The Birds" is much more disturbing as a short story. And as disturbing as it is, it doesn't come close to "Don't Look Now" which has a very Poe quality. And if Rod Serling never televised "The Blue Lenses" I can't imagine why not.

Anyway, highly recommended for October. And if anyone can't point me to a source of modern suspenseful/creepy stories of the Du Maurier/Dahl/Serling school, please do. I love this stuff tha
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I could see why Alfred Hitchcock took an interest in Daphne du Maurier. Her stories are all creepy and weird. They are all dark and twisted, I don't think I have correctly guessed any of her endings because it's all like.. "what?! what just happened?"
Anyways, I think this is like a written version of The Twilight Zone, and I really like that show
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: written-by-women
"Don't Look Now" was a bit of a disappointment, but "Blue Lenses" was so fantastic it made the whole book utterly perfect.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
I checked this out of the library for some creepy stories to read before bed around Halloween. I was surprised because I didn't know it had illustrations in it! They're lovely watercolors that are usually more impressionistic than literal, so they didn't take away from my own imagination very much. Except for one story, which spoiled a plot development a few paragraphs ahead, but then it was my least favorite story (Not After Midnight). I wouldn't buy this book for myself, but I might get a larg ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Rebecca" is one of my all-time favorite books, so after having read it, I decided I needed to check out some more Daphne du Maurier stories. I was not disappointed!

Each of the stories in this collection are similar to a good film noir. There is plenty of suspense and foreshadowing, but not much gore. The interest lies in the suspense; there is rising action and the climax is at the very end. Often you are left wondering exactly what actually took place or is going to happen after the story ends
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Altogether a 3.5
Story #1- Don't Look Now- 1 star- Boring
Story #2- The Apple Tree- 4.5 stars- Brilliant
" " #3- The Blue Lenses- 4 stars- Another brilliant little story
" " #4- The Birds- 2 stars- Huge let down, Hitchcock obviously only took inspiration from the general premise, it was no where near as awesome, just not comparable
" " #5- The Alibi- 4 stars- This one was probably the "coolest" one
" " #6- Not After Midnight- 3.5- So good, but the ending was a mess, kinda put a damper on the whole
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This was just what I was in the mood for, and it did not disappoint. Not only did I put this on my favorites shelf, I'm considering looking for it to buy the next time I'm in a used bookstore. The art and the stories are that worth it.
Six stories total, three were 3 star, 3 were 4 star. I liked The Birds, The Apple Tree, and The Alibi the best. By far the best was The Birds.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
With the Birds being my favorite Hitchcock film, I decided to read the short story that inspired the film. To my surprise, I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection, though the final story, "Not After Midnight" was my least favorite. The stories are dark but well written and address everything from serial killers and psychics, a bitter wife's death and a vengeful tree, a would-be serial killer to a stint in a hospital where a woman, having had eye surgery, sees things VERY differently in a ...more
Poster Child for the "it's me, not you book" situation. I can easily see other people enjoying du Maurier but I could not get into her writing for the life of it. I wouldn't say it is generally bad, I would say though that I personally find her style incredibly boring. Given, Gothic literature seems to be a rough sell on me but I think this failed more with the writing than the plot of the stories. Still, the layout and the implications of the stories are nothing I can easily get invested in eit ...more
Davide Ariasso
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The stories are fascinating but her writing is a bit erratic and at times patchy/clunky. I love the film Don't Look Now, and I think it is actually superior to the short story. The Birds is excellent, but I found The Blue Lenses and The Alibi maybe even better written, if not more interesting. Shame for The Apple Tree, which I found stylistically poor, while Not After Midnight is engaging, maybe the most engaging of all, but the main character / narrating voice is not fully developed, and the hu ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While all the stories were interesting I particularly liked The Blue Lenses and The Apple Tree. The Blue Lenses speaks for itself but The Apple Tree surprised me. I really enjoyed the subtle changing du Maurier gives your perspective until you arrive at a wholly different conclusion.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
William Wren
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantastic
Ideally, I'd give this a 3.5 rating.
Harry Casey-Woodward
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of creepy and imaginative stories, beautifully illustrated.
This was an interesting set of six short-stories. I did not find them horrifying like a horror movie where it unsettles me and I don't sleep well at night, which in my book is a good thing. Overall I did find the stories an enjoyable read.

Taking the meanings of macabre:
*gruesome and horrifying; ghastly; horrible
*of, pertaining to, dealing with, or representing death, especially its grimmer or uglier aspect
*of or suggestive of the allegorical dance of death

I would say these stories fit more along
Jo Anne
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge movie fan with a degree in Film History. (Yeah, I know, it's a career-making degree.) So, as a film fan, I was shocked to learn that my favorite Hitchcock movie, The Birds, was based on a short story written by English writer Daphne du Maurier. (Shocked that I didn't know this, not that Ms. du Maurier wrote it.

The book, which is illustrated with lovely watercolors by Michael Foreman, contains 6 stories, each around 50 pages. The first story is Don't Look Now, which had been made into
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009
First off, I am so delighted to be having so much time to read right now. That will disappear in a couple of months and even over the next month as I study for my Praxis I exam.

This is the third of DuMaurier's works that I have read.. and honestly, I'll be reading as many more as I can get my hands on.

These short stories are fabulous! I have a hard time deciding which I like best though Don't Look Now and the Blue Lenses were equally creepy and may provide me with some trouble sleep.

Remember tho
Lorna Finnigan
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is a small collection of short stories, only six, two of which have been made into excellent feature films; Don't Look Now and The Birds; these two stories are illustrated on the cover. I enjoyed all six of the stories, but my favourite was The Blue Lenses, which was very surreal; about a woman who wakes from an eye operation and imagines the people around her have become animals. I can imagine this as a film too, perhaps computer technology would solve some of the visual problems involved.
Jane Routley
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lit-fic
Great stories perhaps suffering from the fact that they are classic of the genre and so without reading them we have become familiar with them. Spent a lot of time in book club arguing about whether not after midnight was psychological or fantasy. Surely the sign of a good book. The Birds was wonderful. Very creepy.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it liked it
good short stories. du Maurier certainly had a macabre imagination.
i enjoyed the birds and the apple tree the most. the blue lenses and don't look now were OK. the alibi and not after midnight didn't feel complete and the endings were rushed.
Mar 05, 2012 marked it as missions-incomplètes
Turns out, I've read all of the stories in this collection. I didn't realize how much overlap there is in du Maurier's story collections. Many were published under several names. Why isn't there a book of her complete short stories? It's way overdue.
Megan Chance
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Almost every story in this collection is really good. One of my favorites was "The Birds," which is the story the Hitchcock movie was based on. I thought the story was creepier than the movie, and the ending is very different, and even more creepy.
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I mainly read this book for the short story "The Birds" which Alfred Hitchcock used to inspire his film. I've enjoyed some of the other stories as well. Du Maurier also wrote "Rebecca", which Hitchcock also turned into a movie.
Nena Challenner
I didn't realize that Daphne du Maurier wrote The Birds and Don't Look Now, both short stories. It was fun to read the original stories and ponder on how the movies added so many details and nuances to the screenplays. I've always loved her writing.
Brian Keiper
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I didn't actually get to the last couple of stories, but this book surprised me. I expected something stuffy and overwrought. Instead, these stories contain real humor, vibrancy, and, yes, real scares. I'm glad I read what I did and hope to read more of du Maurier's work.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this up to read The Birds, the short story that the Hitchcock movie with Tippie Hedren was based on. The stories are all very good!
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adaptation to film 1 5 Nov 30, 2009 07:16PM  
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