My love for Daphne du Maurier has been a slow burn. In high school, like approximately 97% of us, I read Rebecca and utterly loved it. Then we read “The Birds” in class and I loved that, too. Last year, I read her other short stories in a collection, and those horror-infused short stories still haunt me to this day. Then later on in 2015, I visited a secondhand bookstore in the city and bought three of her novels: Frenchman’s Creek, Jamaica Inn, and The House on the Strand. I absolutely adored Frenchman’s Creek, her romance novel with themes of female freedom, and now I am looking forward to reading the highly-esteemed Jamaica Inn. Daphne du Maurier is my favorite author of the moment, and here’s why you should definitely put her books on your TBR.
Her ability to frighten and spook is unmatched.
There’s a reason why Alfred Hitchcock adapted “The Birds” into a film. And that film, ambitious as it is, truly fails utterly to capture the terror of knowing that when night falls, thousands (if not millions) of birds will fight to the death to get into your home, kill you, and eventually take out all of mankind. The story captures perfectly that apocalyptic aura we’re now so used to, but it’s even eerier because it’s unexplained, and unexplainable. There’s no reason why the birds are murdering everyone, but all of mankind is slowly crumbling, and it’s all seen in the perspective of a man who’s just trying to protect his family. IN VAIN.
“…as the slow sea sucked at the shore and then withdrew, leaving the strip of seaweed bare and the shingle churned, the sea birds raced and ran upon the beaches. Then that same impulse to flight seized upon them too. Crying, whistling, calling, they skimmed the placid sea and left the shore. Make haste, make speed, hurry and begone; yet where, and to what purpose? The restless urge of autumn, unsatisfying, sad, had put a spell upon them and they must flock, and wheel, and cry; they must spill themselves of motion before winter came.”
Her writing is damn-near sublime.
This woman could turn a phrase. She has a way of evoking emotions and unfolding themes of humanity, love, and freedom in a way that always makes me stop and go, “whoa.”
“And this then, that I am feeling now, is the hell that comes with love, the hell and the damnation and the agony beyond all enduring, because after the beauty and the loveliness comes the sorrow and the pain.”
She writes the kinds of stories that become unforgettable.
Who among us was not sort of awed by Rebecca? How did she come up with this stuff? The narrator is passive, vanilla, and literally nameless, but through her eyes, we still see an amazing story unfold, a story of trauma, heartbreak, love, and pure hatred.
“We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic – now mercifully stilled, thank God – might in some manner unforeseen become a living companion as it had before.”
So that’s it for me being all moony-eyed about a classic author. Definitely check out the links in this post to read more about du Maurier’s works, and follow me on Goodreads while you’re at it. Thanks for reading! 🙂