September 13, 2009

Short Story Review: The Apple Tree by Daphne DuMaurier

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Have you ever looked upon a tree and seen something almost human in it's shape? The Apple Tree of Daphne DuMaurier's story resembles a widower's wife. His wife died of pneumonia but instead of feeling sadness at her loss, he feels free. Free from her pessimism, free from her sighs. But the tree droops sadly in his backyard and his attempts at getting rid of the tree are thwarted by others. He doesn't want to appear too eager to dispose of it. People might think it's strange that he's so concerned about an old tree. He just might have to take matters into his own hands...

I'm very impressed by DuMaurier's writing skills. She manages to take an inanimate object and give it a personality. The tree seems to do things to this husband just out of spite. And what can he say, "The tree is out to get me"? He'd look like a loon. DuMaurier also managed to swing my sympathy from the husband to Poor Midge as she gives the reader insight into their marriage.

It's really a ghost story without a ghost, a psychological haunting. Is Midge really getting back at him or is he feeling guilty for how he treated her? You have to read it all the way to the end. The last line is quite chilling.

The Apple Tree can be found in Echoes from the Macabre by Daphne DuMaurier.

5 comments :

  1. Definitely a very creepy story, and like you I was very impressed with the writing!

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  2. This one sounds great! And I'm so glad we have the same book so I don't have to make a special trip to the library to hunt down this story! lol

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  3. I've got a couple of volumes of DdM's short stories and plan to read some for RIP IV. I don't think I have this particular story though, which sounds nicely creepy.

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  4. Nyemth- She's one of my favorite writers.

    Andi- I hope you enjoy it!

    Cath- I read a bunch last year for RIP too. I really enjoy reading them.

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  5. I have a collection of du Maurier's short stories that I haven't read yet - perhaps I'm lucky and this is in there...it sounds like just the sort of thing she does best.

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