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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six of the best
Daphne Du Maurier is a first class story teller. Each of these stories tickles the curiosity, draws the reader in then grabs the imagination and doesn't let go until the end. Daphne is the fisher and the reader is the fish. There are no worms or bright, sparkly lures but every tale tantalises with a hint of something dark, hidden - fascinating and at the same time...
Published on 7 Jun 2005 by Sally-Anne

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Birds etc
I ordered this to replace my lost copy, having not read it for years. It arrived in good time, well-packed. It wasn't quite as good as I remembered, some of the stories have odd endings, but it was a pleasant passing of the time.
Published 11 months ago by E. A. Mcnair


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six of the best, 7 Jun 2005
By 
Sally-Anne "mynameissally" (Leicestershire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Birds And Other Stories (VMC) (Paperback)
Daphne Du Maurier is a first class story teller. Each of these stories tickles the curiosity, draws the reader in then grabs the imagination and doesn't let go until the end. Daphne is the fisher and the reader is the fish. There are no worms or bright, sparkly lures but every tale tantalises with a hint of something dark, hidden - fascinating and at the same time repellent - that might be revealed if the reader will just read on a little further. After reading the first few sentences, resistance is futile. What lurks in the shadows?
These are the stories:
"The Birds"
Suddenly and without warning, flocks of birds start attacking people and buildings. It's December, the weather has snapped from mild to freezing cold with a biting east wind. We observe the events from the perspective of a small family hunkered down in their kitchen in a small Cornish cottage. There's speculation about what has caused the alarming change in the birds. Could it be hunger? Could it be the east wind? How is the ebb and flow of the tide affecting the timing of the attacks? When will it stop?
"Monte Verità"
One of two old friends - amateur mountaineers - marries an extraordinary woman. The two friends' lives follow different paths then, by coincidence the unmarried one discovers his friend reduced to gibbering misery in a nursing home. He has lost his wife under very bizarre circumstances during a climbing holiday. Telling the story of what happened helps his recovery. The friends part company again and then, many years later, they meet once more under conditions that push the boundaries of coincidence to the limit. What did happen to the wife?
"The Apple Tree"
A sad tale about an unloved wife and self-obsessed husband. It's told from the husband's point of view and, at first, all sympathy is focused on him. After the wife dies, his obsessive tendencies take a morbid turn when his attention is drawn to an apple tree growing close the his house. There's something about the tree that makes him think of his wife. Perhaps it's just his imagination .... perhaps.
"The Little Photographer"
A beautiful woman is on holiday with her two children and their governess. The woman is vacuous, vain and callous. To alleviate her boredom she embarks on an affair with an unfortunate young man who falls for her completely. Then she has to deal with the consequences of his infatuation.
"Kiss Me Again, Stranger"
A man meets a girl, forms an almost instant attachment to her, fantasizes a lasting and serious relationship with her and then learns something very disturbing about her.
"The Old Man"
The head of the family is on a short fuse. One of the youngsters is trying his patience when he's already teetering on the outer limits of what he can tolerate. The boy just keeps pushing him and pushing ...
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Source of Hitchcock's, 1 Jun 2005
This review is from: The Birds And Other Stories (VMC) (Paperback)
This is my first taste of Du Maurier but I like it very much :)
The language is beautiful but compact, concise. Fast paced. No extra burden for the eyes.
THE BIRDS, the inspiration of Hitchcock's movie version. Although it is different between the book and movie, the dread they caused
is almost the same with their own focus. In the movie, you'll get the visualization of the dread while through book the description of the attack was violent enough that you couldn't see no end.
MONTE VERITA. It's like reading supernatural story about Maya people at first which was followed by friendship between 2 people, their meeting with a very beautiful enigmatic woman until the strange happening in Monte Verita. In the end, it was still the supernatural one but behind it, there was a horror value in it that makes you see what Monte Verita really was.
APPLE TREE. This is my fav story of this book. A creepy tale of a wife that haunted her husband after her death.
What you thought will not be the same with what you would along the way. A very good material for Outer Limit program.
LITTLE PHOTOGRAPHER. Like watching an Agatha Christie's mytery movie but leave the detective part. This is a story of unintentional villain with heart that was numbed because of life.
KISS ME AGAN STRANGER. Hohoho, this one has a horror surprise!! I wouldn't give any detail what kind of surprise less it would spoil the fun.
OLD MAN. This is my second fav because what I thought when this story began is dashed beautifully at the end ;)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daphne and the art of fear, 9 April 2005
This review is from: The Birds And Other Stories (VMC) (Paperback)
There are six short stories in this slim book: 1) The Birds, 2) Monte Verita, 3) The Apple Tree, 4) The Little Photographer, 5) Kiss Me Again, Stranger and 6) The Old Man. There is also an introduction by David Thomson in which he describes the close and friendly relationship between the Du Maurier family and Alfred Hitchcock. Contrary to the belief of a previous reviewer, Hitchcock did not steal the idea after reading the book. There are copyright laws to protect authors against that sort of crime.
These are marvellous, darkly atmospheric tales which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Birds is one of the shorter stories at an economical 40 pages. Hitchcock's film, although set in California instead of Cornwall and featuring a very different set of characters to those in the book, managed to capture the mood of fear, panic and incomprehension marvellously. The reason the birds attack can only be guessed at by the protagonists and the guesses of the film characters are different from those of the book characters. The book and the film both convey the mixture of cold terror and blank astonishment of the people under attack very well. It was a good film but I like the book even better. And the other stories are a bonus I was not expecting when I was given the book as a present.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Short Story Collection, 24 Sep 2010
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Birds And Other Stories (VMC) (Paperback)
From having read previous Daphne Du Maurier's short stories , and indeed her full novels, I do like it when she goes to the darker side of both her fictional writing, humour and thoughts on human nature and `The Birds & Other Stories' is really like a distilled collection of just those tales. It is of course `The Birds', which is probably the most famous of all her short stories and which gets a full mention in the title, that most people will think they know because of the Alfred Hitchcock film. In actual fact the story is nothing like the film apart from the fact that birds do turn on humans. I would say that (having watched the film again since) Daphne's original version is much darker and with its setting of a family living in a small town by the English seaside it actually creeped me out much more. What's great about this collection is that the most famous story isn't even the best.

I'm not going to give you the ins and outs of each and every tale, or why would you buy them (and I highly recommend you do), but I think a nice taster would be of benefit - and I have made sure I don't give big things away just a hint or two. `The Little Photographer' is all about a surprising love affair in a hot bored summer that soon turns bad and with devastating consequences, just when you think it couldn't twist any more... it does. Along similar lines, and yet totally different (if you know what I mean), `Kiss Me Again, Stranger' is one of the most macabre tales in the collection on how love at first sight can blind you from the truth. `The Old Man' is a harrowing family drama and to even hint what Du Maurier does to turn this on its head would ruin everything especially as it's the shortest story in the collection.

My two absolute favourites however were `Monte Verita' and `The Apple Tree' - though `The Birds' wasn't far behind, I just thought I new it better than these two which I had never heard of before. When `Monte Verita' opened with two leading male characters who spend most of their spare time rock climbing, I admit I thought `oh dear'. Slowly and surely Du Maurier weaves in a mysterious lover and the story of a mysterious legend deep in the mountains of a far off land and soon I was completely hooked. My very favourite of the stories had to be `The Apple Tree' which is a superb and really creepy tale of unease all based on the relationship between a widow and old gnarled apple tree in his garden. Oh so subtly from minor little goings on after his wife's death Daphne builds and builds odd happenings and you will soon be preying the protagonist doesn't do just what you know he is going too.

I actually cannot recommend this collection enough. In fact I would say this book might actually get a re-reading over the next few weeks as the darker nights draw in. Even though I have already read them I have no doubt that Du Maurier's words could build the tension again and again and leave me feeling pleasantly chilled. This is a collection I know I will return to again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling it its best, 8 May 2014
By 
Amanda Jenkinson "MandyJ" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Daphne du Maurier is first-rate storyteller, and so often not given the credit she is due. This collection of 6 stories, which includes The Birds, so memorably made into a film by Hitchcock (although for my money the story is much better than the film) is an excellent demonstration of her powers. Mistress of the chilling and the suspenseful, her stories are always well-crafted and well-structured, with impeccable pacing, and expert handling of character and plot. There’s a whole world to be found in each of these haunting stories. My particular favourite is The Apple Tree, where a man is initially relieved at his new found freedom following the death of his wife, but who gradually finds that there is more than one way of being haunted. I can wholeheartedly recommend this collection, which devotees of du Maurier will find confirm their high opinion of her, whilst newcomers to her writing will have a taste of just how good she is and will no doubt be compelled to read more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six of the best..., 1 April 2014
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
If proof were needed that Daphne du Maurier knew how to tell a chilling tale, then the fact that Hitchcock chose to make three of her stories into films surely provides it. Rebecca and Jamaica Inn are both full-length novels but the third of the trio is based on the short story which provides the title for this collection. The introduction to this edition tells us that Hitchcock did not claim that his film of The Birds was an exact reproduction of du Maurier's story. "What I do is to read a story only once, and if I like the basic idea, I just forget all about the book and start to create cinema." However, although Hitchcock moved the setting from Cornwall in England to Bodega Bay in California and created a character suitable for one of his famous blondes (in this case, Tippi Hedren), the suspense and horror all originate from du Maurier's story.

On a cold winter's night, Nat Hocken is awoken by the sound of tapping at his window and discovers it's a bird seemingly trying to get in. Then screams come from the children's bedroom and when he rushes there, he finds hundreds of birds have come through the window and are attacking his son and daughter. He fights them off, but when he tells his neighbours about the attack the next day they don't believe him - until reports start to come in over the radio that attacks have been taking place all over the country. No-one knows why the birds have suddenly started attacking and no-one knows how to stop them. Du Maurier creates a wonderfully terrifying atmosphere of isolation and claustrophobia as Nat battles to protect his family, and as with the film both the reasons and the ending are left ambiguous, adding greatly to the horror.

The other five stories in the collection stand up well in comparison to The Birds. They are:

The Apple Tree - a widower is quite contented with his new life, until he notices that one of his apple trees bears a striking resemblance to his dead wife. A haunting? Or psychological terror brought on by guilt? A truly frightening story which builds atmosphere with some great imagery.

Monte Verità - the tale of a mysterious sect which lures women away from their families, never to be seen again. Is there something supernatural about it, or is it a religious cult? And what happens when the villagers eventually decide they will destroy it?

The Little Photographer - a bored and lonely Marquise starts a casual affair with a local photographer, but when he begins to take it too seriously, she finds her marriage and lifestyle threatened. No supernatural threat in this one - this is a story of cruelty and guilt as we are taken inside the mind of the Marquise. Starting light, the story gradually gets darker and darker as we see the lengths to which desperation can drive people...

Kiss Me, Stranger - on going to the cinema one night, the narrator falls in love at first sight with the usherette. This is a very ambiguous story - the narrator believes the girl is flesh and blood, but the reader is left with the sneaking suspicion that she may be a ghost. Touching on the psychological aftermath of the war, this is another deceptively dark story with an ending that is guaranteed to surprise.

The Old Man - the story of an isolated family as seen through the eyes of an outside observer. As the story builds towards a seemingly inevitable tragedy, the narrator watches helplessly - unable to intervene because he doesn't speak the same language as the family. An odd story, perhaps my least favourite of the collection, but nonetheless beautifully written and building up a truly chilling atmosphere.

The whole collection gives a great flavour of du Maurier's style - rarely overtly supernatural and using elements of nature to great effect in building atmospheres filled with tension. From mountains to lakes, bright summer to freezing winter, frightening trees to terrifying birds, nothing can be taken at face value in du Maurier's world. And her trademark ambiguity leaves room for the reader to incorporate her own fears between the lines of the stories - truly chilling.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Little, Brown and Company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unease and unexpected menace, 20 Feb 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
One of the marvellous things about Du Maurier is her versatility as a writer, and this short story collection showcases her skills very well.

The Birds has become a classic because of the Hitchcock film, but the original story is very different: set in Cornwall, and with the main character a middle-aged man worried about his family, this is a classic of dread and unexpected menace. It is especially potent for what isn’t said, and the moment when the BBC goes off the air speaks volumes from its very absence.

The other stories in this collection are varied, but they often turn on some secret threat or vague sense of unease. Du Maurier is a master of atmosphere and the well-placed word: this is a short collection but one which displays her macabre imagination very well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Du Maurier, 12 April 2013
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This review is from: The Birds And Other Stories (VMC) (Paperback)
Whats not to like, great stories well told, the birds is really creepy without a happy ending - something to get your teeth into!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the birds, 2 April 2013
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so different to hitchcock! I liked all the stories in this book but I am not a fan of short stories
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5.0 out of 5 stars I thought I knew Daphne du Maurier, 1 Mar 2014
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Having read most of du Maurier's books, this was a bit of a wild card for me, but wow, it really got me captured. Every story, albeit short, will grip you and take you to another place, especially 'The Birds', excellent!
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The Birds And Other Stories (VMC)
The Birds And Other Stories (VMC) by Daphne Du Maurier (Paperback - 6 May 2004)
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