Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Doll by Daphne du Maurier


Synopsis From Back Cover:

Before she wrote Rebecca, the novel that would cement her reputation as a twentieth-century literary giant, a young Daphne du Maurier penned short fiction in which she explored the images, themes, and concerns that informed her later work.  Originally published in periodicals during the early 1930s, many of these stories never found their way into print again... until now.

Tales of human frailty and obsession, and of romance gone tragically awry, the thirteen stories in The Doll showcase an exciting budding talent before she went on to write of the most beloved novel of all time.  In these pages, a waterlogged notebook washes ashore revealing a dark story of jealousy and obsession, a vicar coaches a young couple divided by class issues, and an older man falls perilously in love with a much younger woman - with each tale demonstrating du Maurier's extraordinary storytelling fits and her deep understand of human nature.

I adore a well written short story more than I do the same writing in novel form.  The skill needed to tell a finely honed story in such a small amount of space, when done well, never fails to impress me.  This collection of thirteen stories blew me away, every single one of them made me laugh, shudder, and stare in amazement once I was done.

I don't know what to type next or even what to say if someone were to ask me about this one.  I think I would just stand there, tongue-tied, unable to fully express the way these stories affected me.  I would find myself being both fascinated and horrified at the same time.  I don't even know which story to start with, because there wasn't one of them that failed to impress.

The title story, "The Doll", is one that because of the subject matter, will never leave my brain.  Rebecca and her doll will wander the corridors of my imagination, doing things that I never even dreamed of, let alone want to do.  The young lady in "The Tame Cat", who comes home after years at school, only to be caught up in a web of jealousy involving her mother and her mother's lover, will find a a few brain cells to move into, and set up permanent residency.  "Maize" and her fellow prostitutes forced to live in dreams, and get back alley abortions, are frozen in time, right behind my optic nerves.  The manipulative harridan of "The Limpet", who just can't seem to understand why nobody loves her, made me pity and hate her at the same time.  She now whispers in my ear anytime she needs to whine about how unfair life is.

I had only just read Rebecca for the first time a month or so ago, and Daphne du Maurier blew me away with her lushness of style.  With these thirteen short stories, she is cemented in my brain as someone who I need to read more of, and I don't think I'll ever be disappointed.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.

15 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I want to try du Maurier's work and this collection sounds like the perfect way to do it.

Staci said...

I loved your review! so much so that I want, rather NEED to read this short story collection!!

Simcha said...

I was just listening to a podcast where someone was saying how effected they were by Rebecca, and which really made me want to read it. But now, after reading this review, I think I might start with this book instead since it's easier to fit in short stories while reading other books as well and this could give me an idea if I would enjoy du Maurier's writing or not.

Melody said...

Yours is the second review I read of this book; the first reviewer I read claimed she couldn't finish it. I want to read this since it's a Daphne du Maurier book, and I need to read Rebecca soon!!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I so want to try this collection, even though another blogger found it disturbing. Your review makes me more curious.

Jill said...

This sounds interesting. I've been meaning to reread Rebecca for a long time now. I recall reading it in high school and never again, but I think it would be a different experience now. Thanks for the review!

heathertlc said...

I've been meaning to read REBECCA for years, and now I'll have to add this one to my list as well. I'm finding that I enjoy short stories much more than I thought I did.

Thanks for being on the tour Ryan. I'm glad this book cemented your love of du Maurier!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I have yet to read Rebecca. There I said it. :) It has been on my shelf for years... I need to read it!

Teddyree said...

Your review has me completely intrigued. Rebecca is still waiting patiently on my bookshelf, and I'm adding this to my needlist!

Man of la Book said...

Sounds like an enjoyable book. I've never read du Maurier's work but am looking forward to trying it.

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Kaye said...

WOW! you make this sound so wonderful. I love Daphne DuMaurier's works but have never read this one. Thanks for sharing, Ryan.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I read Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel...and perhaps others that don't spring to mind right now...back in the day. Way back.

So recently I bought Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and plan to reread them, as I LOVED Du Maurier when I was young.

The Doll is on my wish list! Thanks for sharing....

Blodeuedd said...

I hear the pressure of a voice in my head telling me I must read a book by her ;)

Audra said...

Great review -- I felt the same way. The stories were so good -- you make me want to reread them already!

bookmagic said...

This sounds awesome, I have never heard of this collection before. I loved Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel so I think I would love these stories. Though any story with a doll sounds creepy :)