(P)2006 Horse's Mouth
Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.
Peter Capaldi is a BRILLIANT actor and the stories are both excellent. Don't Look Now is troubling. The Birds is terrifying. Du Maurier did a great job on both.
I have listened to The Birds and Don't Look Now once. There will not be a second reading or listening. Before you get the idea that I am panning these works, let me hasten to assure you, that Ms. Du Maurier's talents are unequaled. Peter Capaldi did an amazing performance of the works. Nevertheless, for me, there will not be a second reading ever. My nature could not endure it. To a lesser degree, I feel the same way about Rebecca, another Du Maurier work. She is so vivid, that she burns the images on the brain. Once is enough.
I have never watched Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds only films clips and such. From what I remember from glimpses of the movie as I passed the drive in theaters, I just don't think Hitchcock could equal Du Maurier's images. What did Yogi Bera say, I liked the book best because the pictures were better? Well, the book is better but I am not equal to it at least not twice.
Oh, I see that I failed to mention "Don't Look Now". It is a shock to one's system. Don't read it unless you have a strong constitution.
Two of the less typical Du Maurier stories -- short stories, not novels. Both are familiar from movies: Hitchcock's "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now" (1973) with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. These original stories are as eerie as the movies. Superbly read here.
The Birds is best known as the source for the Hitchcock movie, but the book has more of the relentlessness and persistence of the evil elements of nature than the moralistic overtones of a Hollywood movie of the 50s or 60s. The "East wind" brings bad weather, misfortune or even evil, as literary references from pre-biblical times on have said it would. In the past that meant cold rain, locusts, or even war - here it means destructive birds working in concert to attack all of England. The fact that there is no reason for the horror makes it even more frightening.
The Birds seems very much more Du Maurier-esque than Don't Look Now, which is more psychologically creepy than real-world horrific. This is the story of a couple vacationing in Venice trying to rebuild themselves and their marriage after the death of their daughter. It involves psychic visions (realized and unrealized), mysterious twins, blindness and second sight, and mistaken identity. I found it a little more scattered and less focused than The Birds, but it might just be a preference of mine for natural evil over psychic visions.
The one weak point in this audiobook is the poor audio quality, as if it was an old analogue recording in mono, even though the release date is 2008.
Gripping stuff beautifully read. Forgot it was just one man reading. Will probably replay both of these many times. Excellent!
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