I’d never read any of du Maurier’s work before now, but I have heard great things about her full length novels and have made it one of my top goals of the new year to read Rebecca. Having the opportunity to read this book really opened my eyes in a lot of ways, and I was excited over it because I considered it a primer for tackling some of her longer works. What I found was strange and unsettling, and made me consider the fact that du Maurier must have had a very cynical mind and perhaps some strange misanthropic tendencies. Though I did get invested in these stories, they weren’t the type of things that one would read to brighten their days or to release the stress of the holiday season. In fact, the effect was just the opposite, and I grew a little wary of what would come next as I perused story after story.
None of the characters in these stories were likable. The men were lecherous and conniving, the women co-dependant and manipulative. There were certain themes that ran through the collection that I found a little disquieting, and most of them had to do with romantic entanglements. The men seemed to take great advantage of the women and then throw them away when they got bored. This happened in many different ways in in many competing scenarios, but after awhile, I felt like it was the same song and dance over and over again. This was a bitter collection, and if I were to make any type of opinion on the mind of the person who created these stories, I would have to assume that the author had been burned and was very distrustful of the opposite sex.
The women weren’t much better. In most of the stories with a female protagonist, they exist as emotionally immature harpies or calculating and mean-spirited witches who have no qualms about doing emotional damage. They also seemed to never be able to genuinely connect with their partners. A lot of the women seemed weak in one way or another. There were a few exceptions, but even the exceptions weren’t strong or positive women who had their heads screwed tightly on their shoulders. I grew to dislike every person who was highlighted in this collection, and though I found some of the stories fascinating, others were somewhat plebeian and I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. I can’t say this was a collection that I would ever go back to, because frankly, once was enough; but if you like your short stories dark, then this is the collection for you.
Although I didn’t really fall in love with this book, I haven’t given up hope that Rebecca will blow my mind, because I’ve heard such praise lavished upon it. I can definitely see that these early stories paved the way for something very interesting, but I have to admit that I was happy to finally turn the last page of this book. As I mentioned before, if you enjoy your short fiction bleak, then I think this has the potential to be a great read for you, but as far as I’m concerned, I could just as easily take it as leave it.
|About the Author|
Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) has been called one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Among her more famous works are The Scapegoat, Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, and the short story The Birds, all of which were subsequently made into films, the latter three directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
|A warm thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing this book for me to read and review. Please continue to follow the tour by visiting these other blogs:
This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.