Sunday, September 20, 2009
Short Story Review: The Pool & Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne DuMaurier
Here it is Sunday again and time for another short story review for RIP IV. I have a two-fer today and I'll let you know why two stories in a moment.
First in The Pool, Deborah and her brother spend every summer in the country with their grandparents. This year Deborah feels different. She short with her brother, moody and distant. Still she feels the familiar kinship with the backyard; she believes it misses her when she's not there. The woods at back of the house are different though. It's a primeval place and she treats it reverently, especially the pond. One night she visits the pond and a mysterious event occurs.
I was disappointed with The Pool. It was pretty slow at the beginning and I kept hoping it would pick up. When the event I mentioned happened, I thought things would go in a different direction. Instead, the story is more about leaving childhood behind than anything macabre. I think it's misplaced in this collection.
Being disappointed with The Pool, I moved on right away to Kiss Me Again, Stranger.
A lonely mechanic visits a movie theatre and becomes besotted with a pretty usherette. He follows her onto the bus. She doesn't seem particularly surprised or upset about this but invites him to stay with her. The couple end up in a cemetery where he pours his heart out while she remains aloof. Finally, she asks him to leave and he does, feeling happy to have found the girl of his dreams. Little does he know, she has a secret.
Kiss Me Again, Stranger was much better. DuMaurier makes the mechanic a pathetically sympathetic character. His only friends are his boss and his wife. He falls in love with a stranger, a girl whose name he doesn't even know. Then he follows her on the bus. Creepy, right? The thing is, it's more sad than creepy. Anyway the girl can handle herself. Kiss Me Again, Stranger touches upon the mental cost of war and feminism. It's very interesting.
I have a few more stories in this collection to read. Stay tuned.