Posts Tagged ‘The Birds’

In R J Dent’s Library – Daphne du Maurier

October 2, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at the stories, essays, biographies and novels of Daphne du Maurier.

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Daphne du Maurier

 

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

 

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In R J Dent’s Library – Tarjei Vesaas

September 29, 2013

 

A look in R J Dent’s library at the novels, poems and short story collections of Norwegian author – Tarjei Vesaas.

 

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Tarjei Vesaas

 

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

 

http://www.rjdent.com

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Daphne du Maurier’s Best Stories

January 12, 2009

Readers of Daphne du Maurier’s novels and short stories usually credit Rebecca as being the author’s best work, but there are other, better stories by this very talented writer.

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier

One very good novel of du Maurier’s is The House on the Strand, a time-travel story in the same vein as Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time) by Richard Matheson.

ddm-thots

The Birds and Other Stories is a very good collection of short stories, not only for the titular short story (made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film version), but also for the inclusion of the macabre novella, The Apple Tree.

The Birds and Other Stories

The Birds and Other Stories

Don’t Look Now and Other Stories is another very good collection, not only for the titular short story (made famous by Nic Roeg’s film version), but also because of the inclusion of The Way of the Cross, a psychologically complex longish short story of redemption.

Don't Look Now and Other Stories

Don’t Look Now and Other Stories

Another good collection of short stories is The Breaking Point. This collection includes The Blue Lenses, which is probably the most ingenious of all of du Maurier’s stories and is reminiscent of Eugene Ionesco at his best.

The Breaking Point and Other Stories

Regarding other short story collections, The Rendezvous and Other Stories is worth reading for the title story alone, although the other stories in the collection are also very good.

The Rendezvous and Other Stories

The Rendezvous and Other Stories

The Doll is another valuable story collection . In the title story, a waterlogged notebook is washed ashore. Its pages tell a dark story of obsession and jealousy. But the fate of its narrator is a mystery.

Many of the stories in this haunting collection have only recently been discovered. Most were written early in Daphne du Maurier’s career, yet they display her mastery of atmosphere, tension and intrigue and reveal a cynicism far beyond her years.

The Doll - Short Stories

The Doll – Short Stories

Finally, best of all is the novel Castle Dor. This is a strange one, because it is a novel that was started – and then abandoned by author and critic, Arthur Quiller-Couch. Quiller-Couch’s daughter asked Daphne du Maurier to complete it, which she did, giving it a major overhaul in the process. The result is a moody and atmospheric retelling of the Tristan and Isolde story.

Castle Dor

Castle Dor

It is not generally known, but Daphne du Maurier was a very good horror, science fiction and fantasy writer. Most of her works fit easily into the Gothic genre and many of her best stories put forward (in a very naturalistic way) themes and situations that are supernatural and other-worldly.

The books mentioned above are a good place to start if you are new to Du Maurier’s work. If you are already familiar with some of her work, try these books I’ve mentioned. You might be surprised at how good a writer Daphne du Maurier actually is.

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier

© R J Dent (2014)

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The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

October 1, 2008


The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas is one of the most beautifully haunting novels you will ever read.

The Birds is set in Norway and tells the story of Mattis and his doomed attempts to make sense of the world. Mattis is a young man with learning difficulties who lives with his older sister, Hege. He tries to become more autonomous, but finds instead that despite (or perhaps because of) his attempts his daily life becomes all the more chaotic and complex.

The best translation of this novel is the one by Torbjørn Støverud and Michael Barnes. They have somehow managed to retain and convey all of the spaciousness, the calm delicacy, and the almost mesmeric qualities of Vesaas’s writing style.

Tarjei Vesaas

Tarjei Vesaas

The back cover blurb of their edition, published by Peter Owen, states that it is: ‘One of Vesaas’s most important novels… The author reveals a deep and compassionate insight into human nature and a lyrical response to the Norwegian landscape.’

The Birds is a delicately told, moving and deeply emotional story. It is most definitely worth reading.

Matthew’s Days (Żywot Mateusza) is a 1968 Polish drama film directed by Witold Leszczyński. The film is based on Tarjei Vesaas’ novel The Birds.

 

 

 

The Birds
by Tarjei Vesaas

 

Translated by Torbjørn Støverud and Michael Barnes
Published by Peter Owen
ISBN: 0-7206-0952-6

 

http://www.peterowen.com/pages/modclas/birds.htm

 

(c) R J Dent (2014)

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