Since I’ve been reading Nothing But Daphne for the last month or so you’d think I’d be inured to her particular brand of Yikes. But yikes, Daphne. You are macabre.
Ok so ‘The Birds,’ right? Yes, that The Birds.
And I have friends who are scared of birds, but I am not scared of birds. I am, on the other hand, terrified of ORGANIZED MALEVOLENCE. This is where Daphne’s atmospheric skills stand her in good stead because the page is full of beaks and claws and it is going after your eyes. Egads.
The titular ‘Apple Tree’ features a woman downtrodden by all her busywork, and it makes me all Dude, never let me be that woman. Like, you know how all of us all the time are all ALL THE THINGS I MUST DO ALAS, and ok, fully half of my Sunday Dithers are me being like woe etc but there’s that and then there’s martyring around like you think you invented it. It shudders me because it is so defeating and also because we are most of us halfway there. ANYhoodle that woman dies before the story starts but her spirit haunts (or appears to haunt, which is worse) the apple tree, and her husband loses his damn mind. Stop glaring at me reproachfully, tree!
‘The Little Photographer’ is slow and languid and mean, ‘Kiss Me Again, Stranger’ is sweet and vengeful, ‘The Old Man’ is startling. Only the novella, ‘Monte Verita,’ was sort of feh. It had elements of eerie poignancy but went on entirely too long. Which, whatever, it’s like 80 pages. You can suffer through.
Overall a solid collection. Re-packaged as The Birds and Other Stories after ‘The Birds’ got famous, but I’m no revisionist. Eight caterpillars.