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Daphne du Maurier

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Two excellent new books Treasures of Cornwall and A Different Sound

Treasures of Cornwall and A Different Sound

Treasures of Cornwall: A Literary Anthology, edited by Luke Thompson 

and A Different Sound: Stories by Mid-Century Women Writers, selected by Lucy Scholes

Today, we bring you news about two new books, one available since 2023 and the other published in paperback in February.  These two books are very different to each other, although they both include Daphne du Maurier's short story, The Birds.

Treasures of Cornwall: A Literary Anthology, precisely as the title suggests, is a gem of a collection of poetry, factual writing and fiction based in and around Cornwall.  Luke Thompson has edited the book.  He is a Cornish writer, publisher and academic and the son of novelist E. V. Thompson.  In this collection, he takes the reader on a literary journey around Cornwall, visiting the coastal areas, cliffs and coves, the moors, and even takes you into the mines. 

He delves into the past and brings us writings from famous authors such as Wilkie Collins, Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, and Sir Arthur Conal Doyle, sharing extracts from their writing based on Cornish themes.  He also looks at the work of more recent writers, including Winston Graham, Jack Clemo, Charles Causley and Daphne du Maurier, among many more authors, all packed into this fascinating book.

Some of the writing Luke has selected are extracts from authors' longer work.  For example, with Wilkie Collins, Luke includes just a few of the early pages of Rambles Beyond Railways, a book published in 1851 and reflecting on a walking holiday that he took in Cornwall.  Similarly he has taken the Daphne du Maurier novella, The Birds and given us the first part of the story.   These extracts give us a taste of lots of authors' work, and are an absolute joy to read.

A Different Sound: Stories by Mid-Century Women Writers is a collection of short stories by Mid-Twentieth Century Women Writers selected by Lucy Scholes.  I bought my copy because it includes Daphne du Maurier's novella The Birds.  I am so glad I did because the book contains eleven short stories by excellent writers, including Stella Gibbons, Penelope Mortimer, Elizabeth Bowen and Elizabeth Taylor (the writer, not the film star), as well as less well-known writers such as Frances Bellerby and Attia Hosain.

Daphne du Maurier's short stories are very different to her novels and have a particular style of their own.  They are often bleak, sometimes darkly funny and nearly always have an unexpected twist at the end, so reading Daphne's short fiction will always keep you guessing.   All the authors that Lucy has chosen for this collection have written some brilliant work, not least these short stories, which are gripping, unexpected and beautifully crafted.

So, we have two books, both of which are packed with exciting and compelling writing, apparently totally unconnected, but for the fact that they share the same du Maurier title, The Birds.  They could not be more different to each other, but I recommend both as absorbing, informative and enjoyable reads.

March 2024

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