• Paul Jameson

On Reading and Du Maurier

Originally written in mid-2016, this is an old post lifted from my old site. I hope you won't mind. It revisits my return to reading after not having been able to concentrate enough to read for quite some time; that and my first taste of Daphne du Maurier.

I am now a huge fan of her writing.

I hope you enjoy it.

After returning to my blog last week I realise how much I miss writing it. In truth, I’ve been blinded and consumed by edits on two novels I’ve written. Not a bad thing, but one that a writer really needs to take a break from, even if it's an hour or two on a blog that's fun and frivolous, of the here and now rather than of the what might be.

And so here I am.


Ready to write stuff!

Only now I will be including books I’m reading and what I think of them; a kind of informal thing between you and me. You see I can read again. My brain's beginning to work and it’s a wonderful feeling. I’m focussing on ‘the classics’ in the library. Not in any effot to better myself and indeed, I do think I’m a bit of a lost cause on that front, but ‘the classics’ tend to comprise the shorter books in our library. Anthologies of short stories too.

Sounds like a cop out.

My excuse..?

I don’t want to tire my recovering brain out. A little is a lot at first, so to speak. Anyway, this week I got my grubby little mitts on Daphne Du Maurier. I confess I've never read her work before, but I once worked for a music company that owned the copyright to one of her more famous works. So I decided to give ‘The Birds and Other Stories’ a go. I'm glad I did. I never expected Du Maurier to be so dark and weird;


‘The Birds’, as a story, is far better than Hitchcock's screen version. A lost cause, it leaves a hollow pit in the stomach. But I enjoyed the other stories just as much. Yes, some of the plots were kind of transparent and obvious, but the way she writes is beautiful. Simple, elegant and classical, so that you're hit so much more by the weirdness and twists you know are coming. It’s almost as if they don’t go together - her writing and the weird.

How would I describe Du Maurier?

‘Ahead of her time...’

Moreso given the relevance of some of the storylines in the world of the recent today. I was left intrigued by the Pagan wonder of Monte Verita, fell in love with the usherette in ‘Kiss me Stranger’ and laughed at twisted spite throughout ‘The Little Photographer’. In ‘The Apple Tree’ I really did see the heavy shoulders of a sorry marriage even if the outcome from the beginning was quite obvious.

Overall, I enjoyed them all, and so Daphne Du Maurier has a very new fan.

Bring on ‘Rebecca’.

And if you've never read her works, my recommendation would be 'give it a go - she may well surprise you!'

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