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Collected Stories (Everyman's Library) by…
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Collected Stories (Everyman's Library)

by Roald Dahl

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    Fancies and Goodnights by John Collier (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Another master. 'Evening Primrose' is one of the most unsettling stories I have read.
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    Collected Works of Lord Dunsany by Lord Dunsany (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Both masters of the macabre, often humorous, and have strong human interest.
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Xmas gift from Dad
  MightyLeaf | May 25, 2010 |
Oh to be taken into the wonderful world of Roald Dahls. I have this book out of the library at the moment, and I am loving the seemingly perfectly crafted stories however after renewing it twice, it might be time to return this, unfortunately. I kind of just flipped through the book and read stories randomly according to their titles mostly. They were excellent and uplifting, but sort of horrific too. This man is a genius. ( )
  upatree | Nov 7, 2009 |
At nearly 900 pages this book is a force to be reckoned with. And being as it's a collection of short stories, it's not meant to be read all at once. If you check it out from the library you may need to renew it once or twice. The stories are in chronological order. Most of the first ones are about flying, reflecting Dahl's experiences as a pilot in the RAF during World War II. The stories are of varying lengths, but all are of about the right size to read in bed at night before you fall asleep.

Dahl is mostly famous for his children's books and many people don't realize he was a superb and prolific short story writer as well. There are a few simply stunning pieces in here, and a few mediocre ones. A must-read for any Dahl fan. ( )
  meggyweg | Mar 6, 2009 |
If all you know of Roald Dahl is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and maybe one of his others (Matilda, Witches, James and the Giant Peach, &c.), I must recommend that you visit some of his short stories. I've just finished the Everyman's Library edition of his Collected Stories, and oh, what fun they are. Creepy fun, to be sure (I wasn't sure I would be able to continue reading them before bed after a few nights of incalculably strange dreams), but fun nonetheless.

The lesson of this volume is perseverance. The stories are arranged chronologically, and the first ten stories, written during the World War II years, all have to do in some form with aircraft combat or soldiers in exotic places. They're not awful, but they are barely comparable to what follows. Stick with it (or skip the first 150 pages). Beginning with the eleventh story, "Nunc Dimittis" (1947) and continuing clear through the very last in the volume, "The Surgeon" (1986), these pieces are Dahl at the very top of his game. Suspense, revenge, satire that bites like a steel trap, and a remarkable ability to hold the punch line and resolution until the very last paragraph, often the very last word.

Everybody gets it in the neck with Dahl - just when they think they've gotten away with something, fate's pendulum swings round and puts things to rights again. From the unscrupulous antiques dealer trying to pull the wool over the eyes of some country yokels ("Parson's Pleasure", which was absolutely painful to read) to the woman who thinks she's managed to create the perfect cover for an illicit acquisition ("Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat") to the young man who belatedly and unfortunately discovers the pleasures of carnivorism ("Pig"), and so on, the bill always comes due.

It's hard to pick favorites from a volume like this, when so many of the stories are so deliciously good, so perfectly paced that the final blow often induces a slight wince for the victim (deserving or otherwise) of Dahl's final twist of the knife. A few particularly cringe-inducing or really absorbing pieces, other than those mentioned in the preceding paragraph, include "Vengeance is Mine Inc." (utterly hilarious), "Taste," "Lamb to the Slaughter" (brilliant), "A Dip in the Pool" (in which our main character is too smart by half) "The Hitchhiker" (delightful) and "The Bookseller" (which is, quite simply, perfect).

A very nice volume, well collected and ably introduced by Jeremy Treglown.

http://philobiblos.blogspot.com/2009/01/book-review-dahl-collected-stories.html ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 11, 2009 |
I've always loved Roald Dahl's children's books with their bizarre characters and absurd situations. I had high hopes then, when I began his adult stories.

I was disappointed for the first 150 pages or so. The early stories were a disappointing chain of World War II fighter pilot stories that read like bad Hemingway. Once I got past them though, things improved dramatically. Dahl's non-WWII tales are clever and dark, and he builds suspense beautifully. His stories twist and turn in ways you think you can predict but never quite can. If you're looking for the crazy, imaginative abandon of his children's stories, you won't quite find it here. You will however, find stories that are worth reading.
  asteffmann | Mar 11, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
I’d read his tales before; but I was happy to read them again. I was glad to be affected by them, and troubled by them; glad to recall my childhood discovery of this writer. Difficult, strange, enchanting, yes — and bloody tremendous, terrific, fantastic too.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307264904, Hardcover)

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

The only hardcover edition of Roald Dahl’s stories for adults, the Collected Stories amply showcases his singular gifts as a fabulist and a born storyteller.

Later known for his immortal children’s books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, Dahl also had a genius for adult short fiction, which he wrote throughout his life. Whether fictionalizing his dramatic exploits as a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II or concocting the ingeniously plotted fables that were dramatized on television as Tales of the Unexpected, Dahl was brilliant at provoking in his readers the overwhelming desire to know what happens next—and at satisfying that desire in ways that feel both surprising and inevitable.

Filled with devilish plot twists, his tales display a tantalizing blend of macabre humor and the absurdly grotesque. From “The Landlady,” about an unusual boardinghouse that features a small but very permanent clientele, to “Pig,” a brutally funny look at vegetarianism, to “Man from the South,” in which a fanatical gambler does his betting with hammer, nails, and a butcher’s knife, Dahl’s creations amuse and shock us in equal measure, gleefully reminding us of what might lurk beneath the surface of the ordinary.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A definitive compilation of short fiction for adults from the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other childrens classics blends the macabre with humor and the grotesque in such works as The Landlady, set in an unusual boardinghouse with two small, permanent clientele; Pig, a study of vegetarianism; and Man from the South.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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