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The Birds and Other Stories (Virago Modern…
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The Birds and Other Stories (Virago Modern Classics) (original 1952; edition 2003)

by Daphne du Maurier

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5732217,309 (3.8)40
Member:CurrerBell
Title:The Birds and Other Stories (Virago Modern Classics)
Authors:Daphne du Maurier
Info:Virago (2003), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Boxed
Rating:***1/2
Tags:35, Virago

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The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier (1952)

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)

“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 |
This was a fantastic reading. It's the story of a man who was haunted by an apple tree. The man's wife died a few moth ago. He is living on the countryside in a big house. A housekeeper and a gardener are the only persons who keep the everyday chores going. He didn't feel sad that his wife died. On the contrary he felt very happy to do what he wanted to do. In his big garden were several apple trees. One of them, which was the closest to the house, seemed to be dead since many years. There hadn't been any blossoms nor fruits in ages. Therefore he told the gardener to chop the tree down. The gardener wasn't compliant to fulfill the task because he discovered some blossoms and asked for giving the tree another chance. In fact the tree got more blossoms than any other of the apple trees and got also a load of fruits. Everybody loved the fruits but not the owner.
There were more incidents during the year which I won't write due to not spoil the outcome. It's a story which I can strongly recommend. It is fast-paced and very gripping. ( )
  Ameise1 | Mar 8, 2015 |
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 like the plot of the story here better than the movie but Hitchcock's version is too ingrained into me to not be a little disappointed to find they are so completely different. But I really liked this and think it is a brilliant piece of horror fiction. (4/5)

2. Monte Verita - This starts off as a classic atmospheric eerie Gothic tale and there is a point, perhaps halfway through where it could have been closed off and ended. However, it is at this point that the story gets a second wind and turns into a more haunting and metaphysical tale of finding truth, the meaning of life, peace. Can (should) Utopia exist? Fine story-telling, though I preferred the first half. (4/5)

3. The Apple Tree - Again, I liked this. A haunting, atmospheric tale. Briefly put, a man is haunted by an apple tree after the death of his wife. The tree is old, gnarled and misshapen. He wants to cut it down but his gardener thinks he can get it to flower this yeat. Perhaps the tree symbolizes his wife or his marriage but in the end getting rid of what ails you didn't make him happier. (4/5)

4. The Little Photographer - This is about an incredibly horrible woman, The Marquise, who lounges around all day getting fatigued from painting her nails. She's lonely because her husband works a lot, though he's devoted. She moans and muses about her sad little life thinking how other women in her place would have an affair but no she hasn't not ever. But daydreams of affairs and flings turn to an encounter which has no emotions connected to it and The Marquise is a very class system oriented woman. Fortunately, she gets hers in the end. While I abhorred both main characters, the endings for both of them were as they deserved. (3/5)

5. Kiss Me Again, Stranger - A young man lives a contented life, working, living with a couple for room and board and he's never been much one for the women, never having found anyone who really struck his fancy. But this particular night he meets her, the woman who makes him start thinking of a future, and he spends the evening with her on the bus, having coffee and not arriving back home until three in the morning. The next day he founds out something shocking. (4/5)

6. The Old Man - Hmmm. The narrator is talking to the reader as if we've asked her a question and she proceeds to tell us about her neighbour, the Old Man, his wife, their three daughters and one son. They are an unusual family, keeping to themselves. The man is angry and temperamental, the wife devoted to him, the girls beautiful and hard works while boy is large and simple-minded. The story starts of frivolous and becomes darker and darker. Then when it reaches it's darkest moment DuMaurier changes the perspective with the final paragraph. I liked the story but that last twist threw me and it didn't resonate with me. A strange story really. (3/5) ( )
1 vote ElizaJane | Apr 15, 2014 |
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 them had a hold on me while I was reading: The Birds creeped me out, and made me wonder -- what if something as bizarre and out of the blue happened? What would we do. Monte Verità filled me with a sort of longing, really, to climb that mountain and at least see those women from afar, and I really liked the way it was put together, so that it only all made sense at the end. The Apple Tree was well done, with one of those so-revealing narrators that du Maurier was so good at, but it's definitely not my favourite -- and The Little Photographer just made me uncomfortable and angry; I saw the danger coming early, in that story, possibly through the help of having read reviews and from knowing what the sting in the tail would be like. Kiss Me Again, Stranger is a story I'd love to have written, with that slightly creepy nameless female and oh, that ending line. The Old Man is a really short one, but no less effective for that, and I'd best not spoil a word of it for future readers. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daphne du Maurierprimary 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); 

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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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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