Monday, November 03, 2008

The Rendezvous & Other Stories - Daphne Du Maurier

I have to admit I don’t normally like short stories but that is what is great about Book Groups the fact they invariably get you reading things that you normally wouldn’t. This month for Rogue Book Group we have done The Rendezvous and Other Stories by a woman who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors of all time Daphne Du Maurier. Having loved ‘Jamaica Inn’ and ‘Rebecca’ being possibly one of my favourite books of all time would Daphne Du Maurier’s short stories be as good as what I have read so far?

The Rendezvous and Other Stories is a collection of Daphne’s earlier works. Some of them are inevitably therefore very short more musings than full stories yet that doesn’t stop them being completely brilliant. For example ‘Panic’ which is short but also incredibly dark and a little disturbing. ‘La Saintee-Vierge’ is almost a fable in its own way looking at a woman’s innocence.

‘The Rendezvous’, ‘No Motive’ and ‘Split Second’ are the three longest tales and though I didn’t love ‘The Rendezvous’ because all the characters annoyed me and I wanted to throttle several of them but it made me have a reaction. I did think that No Motive is a brilliant murder mystery of sorts and Split Second is one of the best tales with a twist of the whole collection. It does make you admire what a wonderful writer she was and how good she was so early on in her writing career.

There are a few duds I can’t lie. I found ‘The Lover’ slightly boring and it’s a tale of a lover getting what he wants with older women that I have read a fair few times before and seemed a little bit contrived. I also hated ‘Angels and Archangels’ it again seemed to be based on the sort of things that you have read a few times before about bad vicars and didn’t seem to have Daphne’s true voice ringing through it. These two were it has to be said the only ones I didn’t like, oh no I tell a lie, I didn’t like ‘Escort’ which is possibly quite a brilliant ghost story but the words ‘submarine’, ‘naval’ and ‘war’ really put me off.

However despite these three I didn’t love most of the time I wanted the tales to be longer. In particular ‘No Motive’ which is the first tale and is brilliant, ‘Adieu Sagesse’ which I thought at the start I wouldn’t enjoy but like all good Du Maurier’s has a brilliant twist, mind you for her this was a very light and comical twist. Most of the time she has a serious dark undertone and quite a cynical outlook on life which is something that I really like about her work, she likes to look at a situation and then try and add some darker dynamic or undertone to it.

It’s a great book for a book group as we both took really different things from each of the stories, also on occasion it helps to make sense of some of the more complex stories with their double and triple twists. I would recommend this book to anyone and would actually say it’s a very accessible way to start a love of Du Maurier if you have never had the pleasure before. If you have then I assume you would have already read it, if not I assume you’ll be ordering a copy now?

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I've been meaning to read Daphne Du Maurier for ages, but have not gotten around to it due to my "to read list" which is now composed of more books than I could ever possibly read in a lifetime. However your recommendation of "Rebecca" and her short story collection may bump her up to the top of the list. I love literature that is dark and slightly haunting!!

Simon said...

If you love that then Rebecca is a must read its simply brilliant and would be very much up your street.