i foolishly neglected to review last year’s batch of seth’s ghost stories for christmas, and now i have three NEW ones to read and review.
fortunately, this one was one of the short stories included in du maurier’s collection The Birds and Other Stories, and i’d written reviews for each individual story back when i read it, so permit me some recycling as i try to catch up on my review-backlog.
this one is darkly comic with an unlikeable, unreliable narrator who is recently widowed and glad of it. finally, he is free to do as he pleases, living like a bachelor without the pesky sighing martyrdom of his wife invading his relaxing-space with her relentless housework and negative attitude. but there’s this apple tree, see, and it is starting to remind him of her—dauntlessly clinging to life, keeping the other, younger, prettier trees in its shadow, producing fruit that everyone else finds pleasant but tastes rancid in his mouth. and he starts to HATE that tree. it starts to haunt his every waking moment and ruin his peace of mind. and he is going to have to do something about it. this is a great slow-burning character study of a man who is bitterly angry with limited self-awareness. man vs. tree—who will win?