This was my first soiree with Daphne du Maurier, and let me tell you, it was a very good evening. She doesn’t use cheap thrills to entertain readers. Her agile word play is most excellent on the eyes. It really does make for a quick read. Echoes From The Macabre is filled to the brim with good stories. And they aren’t strictly horror or what I think of as horror, anyway. These have the suspense/thriller structures to them. But with all short story collection, not all of the stories lived up to par. I’m not here to dwell on those ones I didn’t like. You can read the collection and decide for yourself. Everyone’s tastes are different. I want to talk about the ones I enjoyed, the ones that got my horror heart bursting at the seams.
The Old Man is a masterful story about perspective. I was hoodwinked and I never saw it coming. It’s not a horror story, though. Maurier writes the most elegant prose in midst of her creepy plots.
The Birds, which was later adapted to the big screen by Alfred Hitchcock, is an eerie tale of a family’s survival. The birds, guys! I’m not terrified of birds, but my anxiety level went through the roof whilst reading this magnificent piece of fiction. It’s a masterstroke of pure genius. Avian attacks is utterly terrifying. The denouement is not wrapped in a pretty bow, which makes it all the more surreal.
The Apple Tree reminds me of one of Israel Finn’s short stories. It’s all about guilt and remorse, and how that regret sits with you everyday of your life. A guilty conscience will ruin a person. It’s like a poison, slowly killing you from the inside.
Kiss Me Again, Stranger has one night stand written all over it. The foreboding in this tale is splendidly dreadful. I was in awe of the femme fatale from the jump.
Not After Midnight is about a painter on holiday in Greece. An archeologist has recently drowned, and the painter just so happens to be renting the archeologist’s chalet. Needless to say, the painter is on a mission to figure out the archeologist’s fate.
I have to admit something right now. I bought this one because I thought the cover was beautiful. Little did I know that this collection would be a great start to 2020. What a great first read! Last year I wasn’t so lucky with my first reads. Maybe because my first reads were all males. Anyways, let’s get back to this review. I haven’t heard much about Daphne du Maurier before reading this one. Now, after reading this one, I can’t see how Shirley Jackson overshadows her so much. du Maurier is a much better writer. Her prose alone are to die for. du Maurier’s pacing and plots are smooth as aged whiskey. The characters are complex and the stories have aged quite well given their copyright date.
Whilst reading Echoes From The Macabre, you can’t help but to feel reinvigorated. Each of these stories would make great films. I think two of them have been adapted. I’m not entirely sure. But what I do know for certain is the fact that you can’t go wrong with this collection. There may be one or two stories that you may find slow, but for the most part, this collection sings. I’m definitely going to read more of Daphne du Maurier’s work.
Categories: Book Reviews