Sadie Jean gave me Don’t Look Now and Collected Stories by Daphne DuMaurier for Christmas and I’m loving it. I read Rebecca last year and it was a wonderful, intriguing and psychologically intense reading and her short stories now feel the same.
Don’t Look Now is the first of the short stories that gives title to the book. It is set in Venice and it tells the story of a couple who lost her little girl recently and are trying to recover. However, everything changes when a couple tells them her little girl is sitting besides them…
From that moment on, the story turns as eerie and as decadent as Daphne DuMaurier can get it… which is a lot. Venice at the beginning of the century is not the romantic city we know nowadays but a more desolate place. It reminded me of the Italy in Portrait of a Lady: a place where many Americans and Europeans went to recover and rest from both psychological and physical. I imagine a place full of sick people, leading a simple life discovering art and having long walks with their families. Also, the fact that the couple has lost their little child, creates a special kind of tension between the characters. I personally find this situation incredibly stressful and awkward: each of them wonder how the other is doing and try to fake their own happiness to make the situation better with no success at all.
Such a combination, with a well-constructed plot, makes the story pefectly eerie. I recommend it to anyone who likes DuMaurier or is looking for a spooky story