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The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne Du…
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The Birds and Other Stories (1952)

by Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6862520,098 (3.83)51
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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
An excellent collection of stories. Daphne du Maurier is an expert at building quietly menacing scenarios out of everyday life.

The Birds is the title story and much more chilling than the Hitchcock movie. Whereas the movie focuses on the birds themselves and the visual effects that the crew could produce, the original story (set in Cornwall rather than California) focuses on how people deal with this inexplicable phenomenon. I first listened to this story as a short audiobook narrated by Peter Capaldi, and both times I read this the ending has been so flummoxing and perfect at the same time.

Monte Verità is the longest of the stories in the collection, or it somehow feels the longest. The story of two men who enjoy mountain climbing, and the wife of one of them who disappears on Monte Verità, said to be home to a mysterious sect. It was a little weird for my tastes.

The Apple Tree is a good spooky story and an excellent choice for the original title of this collection (the collection took The Birds as its title story after the Hitchcock movie came out). The dread and horror is palpable.

The Little Photographer is a longer story about a disenchanted Marquise who decides to spice up her boring holiday by having an affair of sorts with a local photographer. One of those stories where the main character doesn’t come out of it very well, but you can’t help feeling sorry for her anyway.

Kiss Me Again, Stranger is a wartime story about a young man who has an eventful night out at the cinema with the usherette. This is a somewhat banal summary, but the story works best when you don’t know that much about it.

The Old Man is what I call a “kaleidoscope” story—at the end, the tumblers turn, and the whole story appears in a different light. I was reading this one on the bus and jumped back from the book in surprise at the end.

I would definitely recommend this collection if you like Daphne du Maurier, well-crafted short stories, or suspense writers of the mid-20th century. ( )
1 vote rabbitprincess | Feb 17, 2018 |
The book contains six stories differing in length. The first story is the most famous, because of Hitchcock's film. It is obvious that birds are important in this story, but halfway through the last story I was drawn into thinking about birds as well. This turned out to be the author's Intention.

In between these two stories, there are some excellent short stories as well. The apple tree is my favourite, showing that some persons can haunt you even after death. ( )
1 vote Johanna11 | Nov 24, 2017 |
Some of these stories, especially "The Birds" and "The Apple Tree," I really liked. The others I just liked, without the adverb. "The Old Man" made me smile. I enjoyed the atmosphere of "Kiss Me Again, Stranger" but was kind of disappointed in the ending (although I'm SO glad she wasn't a vampire). "The Little Photographer" left me feeling squirmy; I couldn't decide what I wanted to happen to the main character. "Monte Verita" was almost awesome, but the turn it took at the end seemed weird to me.

Overall, I really like the structure of du Maurier's stories. They circle back in a satisfying way, and often they're peopled with characters who either become overly emotional about smallish things or accept with a pragmatic shrug of the shoulders things that seem to warrant a bigger reaction. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jun 20, 2017 |

“When she smiled it was as though she embraced the world.”

One may assume an anthology with six mere stories would be a little short or lacking, but since she leans towards longer anthology pieces, it works out well for the length. I was excited to read this, especially being such a fan of Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier's gothic ambience. Simply must find more of her stuff, and soon.

The Birds ended up a great story that doesn't disappoint. True to the word of other reviewers, it is much different than the film, but while I loved the detailed movie story, this one works well too. It's a pretty short story as far as her others go, and focuses on a man who is trying to take care of his wife and two children during the birdpocalypse. He is the first one who notices things amiss, and one of the only in town who takes the thing as seriously as it should be taken when the first bird strikes. No goriness, but there is a creepiness in this story that is missing from the motion picture.

Great stuff...it gets me thinking too that if birds did start attacking like that, we would be screwed. As Nat himself thinks, what can man do? Planes were tried and wrecked as the birds and gulls mass suicided into the things, the glass windows, the engines. Navy and the water wars would be effective only against the gulls and sea birds if they stayed put. Ultimately people would have to be poisoned or blundered for immediate action to take place, which is obviously counter-productive anyway. 4/5

She wrote Monte Verita beautifully - du Maurier has the perfect gothic touch in her writing, and so her lyrical prose complimented this unusually fantasy-rich story well. It was creatively structured with a bittersweet ending. A mountain group (cult?) blessed by immortality - or is that only in their heads and we are all fools after all? Unfortunately it only worked so far because it was too bloody long - shorten it by half and it would have been another star earned. 2.5/5

'The Apple Tree' - loved it. At first it seemed like bizarre humor - and it is funny. But then it turned bleak - and it is bleak. It has moral message. I wobble between just seeing him as a selfish man who did not appreciate what he had, to a woman who brought down the life and spirit. Really it's a combination of both. At times funny, but mainly just sad, it's a creative, artsy, long story. Excellent and just different. Ties with 'The Birds' as a favorite; while the famous story is creepier and exciting, The Apple Tree has a slower pace that works because it is sobering, deep, and unusual. Don't think I'll forget it. 4/5

'The Little Photographer' was actually crappy. Despite DuMaurier's stunning writing style, the plot turned out to be as shallow as the main character. At first it was intriguing and held promise, but the end ruined all, especially when I started hated the main. Felt bad for the photographer. At least karma visited at the end. 2/5

I dug "Kiss me again, Stranger." At the cemetery I started thinking it would have a paranormal jibe. A little slow on the start but it was worth continuing. The ending isn't fabulous or anything, but it was an enjoyable enough story. 3/5

'The Old Man'...no idea what to think of this story. I suppose 2.5/5. I don't fully get it. At least it's short. The narrator was definitely a nosy soul.

As you can see, mixed ratings. Even the stories I stamped a 2 star on were enjoyable to read because her writing is just that awesome. I didn't hate any. The anthology shines too because it showcases her writing talent by dishing out samples of such different stories. The plots, story tone, and characters are all individuals.

I recommend hunting this down, it's worth it. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I don't believe I read through the entire anthology, but it could just be because "The Birds" left such an impression. Having seen the film multiple times, I was surprised and pleased to discover that du Maurier's original story is even more compelling. The atmosphere is just chilling - not even Hitchcock could recreate it. ( )
  sweetzombieducky | Nov 28, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
du Maurier, DaphneAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cardi, Alma ReeseDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tomes, MargotIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Publishing history - 1952, UK, Gollancz "The Apple Tree and Other Stories"; 1963, UK, Pan "The Birds and Other Stories".  This last title is the one that has continued to be used ever since. (As far as i can tell); 

Stories include:

"The Birds",

"Monte Verità",

"The Apple Tree",

"The Little Photographer",

"Kiss Me Again, Stranger", and

"The Old Man"

In 1953 in the US, Doubleday published the stories included in "The Apple Tree..." along with two additional stories ("The Split Second" and "No Motive") as the collection "Kiss Me Again, Stranger"
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Book description
VIRAGO EDITION:
A classic of alienation and horror, 'The Birds' was immortalised by Hitchcock in his celebrated film. The five other chilling stories in this collection echo a sense of dislocation and mock man's sense of dominance over the natural world. The mountain paradise of Monte Verità promises immortality, but at a terrible price; a neglected wife haunts her husband in the form of an apple tree; a professional photographer steps out from behind the camera and into his subject's life; a date with a cinema usherette leads to a walk in the cemetery; and a jealous father finds a remedy when three's a crowd...
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