Book Review: Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
December 20, 2011 17 Comments
I’ll admit it: I got this book because of its cover. No, not quite: I took this book off the library shelf because I was attracted to the cover, but when I saw the book contained short stories by Daphne du Maurier, I wanted to borrow it straight away.
I’ve read several books by du Maurier, which I have enjoyed a lot. I am not a short story reader, but sometimes I do give it a try. And with this first sentence, it sounded pretty good: “‘Don’t look now’, John said to his wife., ”but there are a couple of old girls two tables away who are trying to hypnotise me.'”
Of course, I had to try the book. I loved all stories except for one, that I found rather boring.
Don’t Look Now: What it is about
The book contains 5 short stories, all about 50 pages long. In some of them, there is an element of the supernatural, which make the stories very interesting.
All stories are about people in a (for them) foreign place: either they are on holiday, or they are transferred to a different location by their boss.
The first story, Don’t Look Now takes place in Venice, where a couple on holiday run into a pair of strange twins. The woman likes them but the man mistrusts them, especially when his wife becomes quite obsessed with them.
In the second story, Not After Midnight, a teacher is taking a holiday in Greece to spend his day painting the landscape. But he gets involved with his hotel neighbours, a very loud American man and his timid wife. But who is really in charge there?
In the third story, A Border-Line Case, a young woman plans to visit a friend of her deceased father, but is kidnapped by him before she has a chance to tell who she is.
The fourth story was the one I found boring, The Way of the Cross, about a group of holiday makers who visit Jerusalem. A young boy tries to reconstruct how and where Jesus would have walked with his cross and meanwhile, some of his party are having mishaps.
The Breakthrough, the final story, was interesting again, with a man being sent by his boss to work at a different location. There he finds that some very strange experiments are taking place involving the discovery of what happens with the soul when people die.
Don’t Look Now: What I thought
I read about one story a day. The first three all had a very interesting, and unexpected ending, where I was a little take aback (but in a good way). The stories were well built-up and felt a bit like Roald Dahl’s stories but more subtle (although I must admit I haven’t read him for a long time).
The stories were long enough to be interesting even for people like me, who tend not to read short stories. Reading this book has definitely encouraged me to try other short stories in future.
I got this book: from the library
I read this in: English
Number of pages: 274
First published: 1973 (as: Not After Midnight and Other Stories)
Genre: Short stories