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.