Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review - Daphne Du Maurier's The Doll Short Stories

The Doll Short Stories by Daphne Du Maurier
Published by: Virago
Publication Date: May 5th, 2011
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy
While this collection of short stories is making a name for itself based on the racy titular story, it is all the other stories that have been long lost or forgotten that Daphne wrote at such a young age and showed the writer that she was to become that made it memorable to me. Things we have come to know and love as distinctly Du Maurier are present in these earliest writings. Nameless characters who we connect with so readily. Bleak situations. The foibles and follies of humanity. The clash of the sexes. Daphne had a distinct voice from the very beginning of her career. I feel though that this book is being overshadowed by "The Doll." A story, with an odd sexual predilection of the female protagonist, which I will not spoil here, but is being spoiled everywhere from the dust jacket to the introduction to numerous other reviews. Perhaps I wouldn't have found it so lacking had I not known what was going on the whole time, they are called spoilers for a reason and should have been labeled as such.

Suspense and uncertainty is key in Du Maurier's world, with that being taken away, we are left with just the bleak ending to come. We can never be certain where we stand, and that keeps us hooked. In the short story "The Limpet" you start out having such sympathy for the lead, but slowly realization dawns on you as to what her soul is really like. The title is apt, the masterful storytelling that unravels before us keeps the pages turning. While reading I wrote little notes to myself as to what it was that drew me to each story. From the self satisfied priest who is pitch perfect in his pomposity to the young newlywed who dreams of a bleak future, each story has a dark charm and a magnetic draw. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will strongly encourage you to order this from Amazon UK now... the wait till November when it is published stateside is too long a wait for anybody. Yes, it is that good.


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