Monday, October 2, 2017

MMRM: "The Blue Lenses" and "The Doll" by Daphne du Maurier


'Tis the season for the unearthly, the undead, and the downright macabre. Not everyone can read an entire book in time for Halloween- some of us are too busy with other books, or even other things (gasp). For those poor souls, I offer these reviews: I will be writing my thoughts on some of my favorite short stories for this spooky season, either one at a time or in pairs.

"The Blue Lenses" by Daphne du Maurier


Available to read for free, online here. There is a free audio edition of this short story (!) here. (The audio appears to have more sentences- I'm not sure if it was added on or not.)
Rating: 4 Stars (Excellent)
Content: Ages 12+ for mild head-bending.
Page Count: (unknown) pages
Year Published: 1959

Surgeries are a vulnerable time for most people, so it makes sense to write a weird horror tale about the subject. Without sight, would we judge people differently or the same? Daphne du Maurier does an excellent job of playing on some of the more basic fears most people have.

The Plot: A woman has surgery to repair her vision, but when her bandages are removed, her vision seems to have bizarrely deteriorated instead.

Colour was not important. The blue symmetry of vision itself was all important. To see, to feel. It was indeed a rebirth, the discovery of a world long lost to her.

               ~"The Blue Lenses" by Daphne du Maurier

If you happen to be having eye surgery, I would save this one for later. It's a bit unsettling.

Another note: This was included in an article on Bibliotherapy: what to read when you're at breaking point. I suggest reading the story first, as she includes a minor spoiler.

"The Doll" by Daphne du Maurier


Available to read for free, online here.
Rating: 3 Stars (Good)
Content: 14+ for implied sex scenes
Page Count: (unknown) pages
Year Published: 1937

Although du Maurier is best known for having a character named Rebecca in her novel of the same name, here is another instance she uses a similarly named character to sinister effect.

The Plot: A man finds himself bewitched by a girl who is liberal with her affections.

Honestly, I can't say I liked this one as well as "The Blue Lenses", which had a certain amount of depth that this one doesn't have. As horror stories go, this one is heavy on the atmosphere. But I can see why it went unpublished for 70 years- it just doesn't have as much punch as du Maurier's other works.

She said, "Is it possible to love someone so much that it gives one a pleasure, an unaccountable pleasure to hurt them? To hurt them by jealousy, I mean, and to hurt oneself  at the same time. Pleasure and pain, an equal mingling of pleasure and pain, just as an experiment, a rare sensation?"

            ~"The Doll" by Daphne du Maurier

If you're afraid of dolls and losing someone you love, I suppose this one may be more frightening. As someone unafraid of dolls, it wasn't that scary to me.

Until next time,

2 comments:

  1. Thanks! I'll be jumping on that audiobook for my next bus ride. I have not read Rebecca yet, can you believe it? I have the ebook so there is no excuse. I will link this on my Sunday post. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't read any of du Maurier's short stories but after reading Rebecca I was really impressed with her writing. The eye surgery one sounds creepy, I'll definitely be checking it out soon! Thanks for the reviews. :)

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