Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Daphne Du Maurier, The Birds

I do not often read fiction.  My reading of late is mostly primary sources from the 16th Century written in Lallans and semi-English.  Interesting, but not to everyone's tastes.  But, I read a novella by Daphne du Maurier over the last two days, her The Birds.  

Most people think, of course, of the 1963 film version directed by Alfred Hitchock, which was based on the 1952 novella by Daphne du Maurier.  The book is much different and much better.  Not only did I enjoy it thoroughly I really gained an appreciation for du Maurier's writing style, which is concise and pithy.  Very few write fiction that well these days, one wonders if it is becoming a lost art.  The skill of narrative, of telling the tale. She was a mistress of the craft.

The story in the novella is set in the West Country on the coast after WW II.  Gone are all the sub plots and romance interests that Hitchcock put into his film.  A humble cottager with his wife and two children confront the world of nature on the attack.  The novella is very chilling and the terror is more pure.  The feeling of isolation in the middle of societal collapse more profound. A damn good read, I recommend it very highly.

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