THE DEEP ONES: "The Birds" by Daphne Du Maurier
Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.
Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.
Discussion begins December 2.
First published in the October 1952 issue of Good Housekeeping.
SELECTED PRINT VERSIONS
The Birds and Other Stories
Classics of the Macabre
Witches' Brew: Horror and Supernatural Stories By Women
The Ruins of Earth
Online for me! I may be late to post, though, haven't started yet and as I recall it's a long-ish one?
ETA From the Daily Beast article under MISCELLANY:
Hitchcock's filmed version is a technical tour de force but a movie that never gets under your skin. It’s just a great example of what money can buy when it’s spent by a genius. Du Maurier’s story, by comparison, looks like a miser’s dream: a 50-page novella that compels us to keep reading using only the barest prose, never two words where one will do.
I'll look at the second version and compare.
The paragraphing appeared to be badly mucked up and there were a lot of typos. When you compare the versions, it appears that they are not the same at all! I'd have to dig out one of my books to compare. Something's not right with one or both of those online versions... For instance, there is a "Mr. Trigg" in the first, but not in the second. Can anyone verify which one, if either, is the correct version?
Both links appear to be used for K-12 grades.
I had forgotten that the birds were being driven mad by climate change!
I'm not sure if online v2 is unadulterated, but decided I'm going to use it as the best option for me right now. I do look forward to settling that question, though.
Du Maurier definitely gets right down to business, doesn't she? I appreciate the fact that Nat gets the situation almost right away and immediately starts thinking "siege". There are no wasted paragraphs of our protagonist being tediously dim about events. There are no wasted paragraphs in Du Maurier, period, I think. The littlest birds seem to be the harbingers, although I have to hope that the first unseen creature "tapping" at the window might have been a raven...
I think both ideas are at work. Du Maurier was surely taking a risk with using birds. Such lovely and generally innocuous creatures shutting down civilization as we know it? I think it was a risk worth taking and a great, unusual choice on her part.
I haven't undertaken a line-by-line comparison (I've read this in the Folio Society's edition of Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories, which they've retitled Don't Look Now and Other Stories)) but the online version looks complete. All those semi-colons suggest that the text hasn't been interfered with, at any rate.
I wonder how common, in 1952, a downbeat ending was? By the 1970s (I guess I'm thinking mainly of (British TV) one-off plays and what you might call pre-Star Wars cinema), it was so commonplace that the impact was often lost, and it seemed the writer(s) had just not bothered writing the last act. That doesn't apply to this story, of course.
Nat also thinks about how people don't believe him, especially those who didn't experience directly bombardment during the war. " It was, Nat thought, like air raids in the war. No one down this end of the country knew what the Plymouth folk had seen and suffered. You had to endure something yourself before it touched you."
The silence of the birds is one of the eeriest aspects of the action, I thought, both during attack (no crying or calling, just busily attacking a victim or attempting to break into the house) and afterward, silently watching Nat as he moves around gathering supplies. And it doesn't make much sense: even crazed or driven by eco-devastation, there's no reason for the birds to be silent. Nat also thinks about birds "on a mission" to the towns, or "waiting for orders", yet they don't call to each other as they typically would. So, an effective idea, but hardly believable.
Only later did I remember that the German V-1 and V-2 rockets have a silent aspect to them. Primarily the V-1, which were silent after the engine shut off and they dropped to their target.
The V-1's engine made a loud buzzing sound and so they were commonly called "buzz bombs" by the British. Other nicknames were "doodlebugs", "robot bombs" and "flying bombs". As the V-1 approached its target, the buzzing would suddenly stop, and the bomb would then fall silently to the ground and explode. The V-1s were particularly terrifying because they would arrive at all times of the day and in all types of weather.
The V-2 worked much differently, a true ballistic missile. But they also fell from a great altitude and were silent except for the sonic boom (which I believe often were not audible to those targeted except too late).
Unlike the V-1, which flew relatively slowly and at low altitude, the V-2 slammed into the ground at 4,000 miles per hour without warning, except for a double sonic boom shortly before impact.
Both quotes from a cached page on the Nazi V-1 and V-2, apparently no longer on an active server but accessible via Google's wayback machine.
I admit to being fickle, since I cannot bring myself to watch these Hollywood heavyweights (Hitchcock, Allen, Polanski, Cosbie, Miramax, etc.) anymore, as the work is marred no matter the logic or perception. We gave up movies for well over a year after the lawsuits hit the fan, not missing much. Reality tv disturbs my sense of privacy that all of society should be able to take for granted. It was refreshing to escape the gaudy gossip. I do admire Daphne du Maurier's desire to fiercely preserve her own seclusion. I enjoyed researching Cornwall last year, between her work and The Cornish Trilogy by Robertson Davies.