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on 22 June 2009
`The Breaking Point', named because "characters are caught at those moments when the delicate link between reason and emotion has been stretched to the breaking point", was originally published in 1959 and hasn't been published since the early 80's. Until this year of course! Daphne has always been known to write quite dark tales however this is said to be one of her darkest which of course added to the thrill of reading the book and I have to say that these are incredibly dark and brooding indeed. Written when her husband was ill, she was relocated nearby to a small cramped flat and then faced with her husband's long term adultery, so possibly in quite a dark place herself.

Now this is a collection of eight of her short stories and me telling you about each and every single one of them might get a little dull and ruin the objective of actually buying the books yourselves. So I will focus on a few and simply say that all of them are quite chilling, even when at first you think that they might not be.

`Ganymede' for example is just one such tale, it starts with what seems like a tale of "the unspeakable act" of a classical scholar who when holidaying in Venice becomes besotted and slightly obsessed with a waiter. Of course in this day and age this really isn't that shocking, however as the tale goes on what could be a romance story has a huge twist that shocks you and is then followed by a small chapter that then makes you completely reshuffle the story and its motive as you read the last line. It's difficult to review any of these without giving away the twists in the tale at the end which all of them have in abundance.

`The Pool' is slightly different, as is `The Archduchess' as they both have a slight, if dark, fairytale quality to them. Both seem to be set in `secret other world' and yet deal with changes in emotion. The first is very much about a girl going through puberty and the change from child to adult and all the emotions that brings, forming women from other worlds that only she can see. Whereas the latter is more about the greed and darkness of the male human psyche and its endless need to devour and control as Daphne describes the made up land of `Ronda' in Europe and its demise. Emotions are also at the forefront of `The Chamois' which is a tale of a couple climbing a mountain and as they climb, the more they are pushed and the more the tensions in their marriage show its incredibly clever and of course has that all important twist.

My two favourites have to be `The Alibi' and `The Blue Lenses' for how dark they are (though `The Menace' - which does what it says - is equally dark) and both of which are easily the eeriest things that I have read in quite some time. `The Alibi' actually made me think of `Amercian Psycho' as a man suddenly whilst walking with his wife, realises that he could kill someone randomly and so he sets about randomly organising it. It's really, really creepy and the randomness of his decisions and actions makes it all the more real to imagine.

`The Blue Lenses' reminded me in some ways of something that Margaret Atwood might come up with. Set in a nursing home Marda West undergoes an operation to bring back her sight via the power of a new find in medicine called `The Blue Lenses'. When her sight is regained she sees things more clearly than she thought as people's personalities create the heads of creatures that have their traits and though it sounds slightly out fo this world and comical, when she meets the person with the snakes head I promise it will chill you and turn you cold.

This is a fantastic collection of short stories be you a fan of Daphne or not! If you like complex and psychological, suspenseful and dark, if you like looking into the depths of the human mind or if you just want a fantastic read I cannot recommend this collection strongly enough.
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on 14 April 2013
Absolutely loved this, it was my first foray into Daphne Du Maurier's work and I will definitely be reading more. Quirky tales that are just the right length and hold your interest perfectly. There was one particular story I was most interested in because I had heard it discussed and wanted to read it for myself (The Blue Lenses) but I enjoyed them all equally.
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on 21 September 2013
I wanted something else by this author after reading the Cornish novels Rebecca, My cousin Rachel, and Jamaica inn. These were well reviewed, so I thought I'd give them a go. I"d read The Blue Lenses some years before, but forgotten it. Now I wonder how I could have! There is an unevenness about the collection: the author was close to a nervous breakdown when she wrote them, and this shows in the desperation of some of the characters, and the lack of polish on some stories. My favourites were The ArchDuchess, the Blue Lenses, and The Pool; the latter in particular.If you are a du Maurier fan and you appreciate her dark side (remember, she wrote Don't Look Now), give this a go.
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on 2 August 2016
Excellent as always, a real mixture of stories, but all with a sinister quality that the author does so well. Love "The Blue Lenses" especially, such a good premise - a woman's sight is restored by a new medical intervention, but she finds she now views people in a very unsettling way.
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on 17 January 2014
I have several compilations of Du Maurier's short stories, they are all superb. The stories compiled in the "The Breaking Point" are dark, modern, claustrophobic and brilliant. "The Alibi" is a story about a man having some sort of ongoing psychotic episode. "The Menace" is a little more light hearted and tells of a John Wayne type character who is on the brink of losing his movie career. The most horrific, for me, was "the Blue Lenses", just reading it made me feel panicked and claustrophobic. Her description of a mothers careless cruelty towards her dumb son brought a lump to my throat. These stories were first published in 1959 yet they all seem so modern and relevant. These stories were written when Du Maurier herself felt on the edge of madness and her writing has absorbed her paranoia and anguish. Mini-masterpieces from Daphne Du Maurier.
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on 31 July 2014
I have rediscovered this author through our Book Club - we are doing Jamaica Inn this month - so I looked for other books and am glad I did. What a great author.
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on 24 July 2016
Dapne du Maurier at her best. Great quality product at fantastic price. What's not to like?
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on 1 August 2014
Love Daphne - subtle suspense , an absorbing read.
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on 13 September 2015
I was very disappointed as this book was written by such an esteemed author. A couple of stories were ok, most were not very good at all and one was awful.
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on 16 September 2014
As always, Daphne du Maurier never fails to disappoint. We all recognize something of ourselves in her books. Those who don't need to get out a bit more.
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