Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Short Story Wednesday: "THe Blue Lenses" Daphne DuMaurier

"The Blue Lenses" is another story from DON'T LOOK NOW. a collection by Daphne Du Maurier. This story so much resembled a TWILIGHT ZONE episode I was convinced I could find it online. But the somewhat similar TZ episode was THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER and not this story.

Marda West is in the hospital following surgery on her eyes. At first her eyes are completely bandaged and she lies in bed with nothing to occupy her days. The doctor and hospital staff care for her, feed and bathe her. Her husband visits when he can get away. 

When the bandages are removed, her temporary lenses, make the staff and doctor looks like various animals from the head up. Her surgeon has a dog’s head. Her day nurse has the head of a cow. Nurse Ansel has the head of a snake and her husband Jim, that of a vulture with a “blood-soaked beak.” At first she thinks the nurses are playing a cruel trick on her, but eventually she comes to realize  she has been granted the  ability to see those around her as they really are. The lenses have removed blindness both literal and metaphorical. 

She is frightened, of course, especially when she sees that people on the street resemble animals too. Marda manages to insult everyone with her terror of their looks and eventually attempts to run away. She is captured and endures another surgery to correct the problem. This time she awakes to normal faces on everyone around her. There is one final scene you can read for yourself. You might guess what it is.


George Kelley 

Steve Lewis


Todd Mason said...

Very vague memories of this story...I do need to catch up with that collection.

I'll probably have one something or another by this afternoon for SSW.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I remember the "Eye of the Beholder" episode of TZ very well. It starred Donna Douglas of BEVERLY HILLBILLIES fame. I can see I'm going to have to look for the DuMaurier book after all.

After the Tom Hanks book, I read the latest British Library collection edited by Martin Edwards, A SURPRISE FOR CHRISTMAS. The mix of authors was a little different this time. I had previously read the longest story, by Anthony Gilbert, "Give Me a Ring," but read it again anyway.

Currently reading Mick Herron's DOLPHIN JUNCTION. There are stand alone stories plus four about Oxford husband & wife PIs Joe Silvermann and Zoe Boehm. Clearly (in the two stories I've read), the marriage is not going well. Joe is the main character, rather a hapless (if not stupid) guy, with his wife very sharp but someone who doesn't suffer fools gladly (if at all). Just downloaded Laura Lippman's new collection, SEASONAL WORK.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am waiting for the Lippman book from the library. I have meant to read Herron's spy books, which are always getting a lot of praise.

George said...

I've read a few Daphne du Maurier novels but I don't recall reading any of her short stories. I'll have to remedy that!

TracyK said...

That story by Daphne du Maurier might give me nightmares.

I have the short story book by Mick Herron because I like his novels so much (including the Zoe Boehm series), but I haven't read any of the stories yet.

Margot Kinberg said...

I've always thought du Maurier's short stories are at least as good as her novels. Nice to see one here.