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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Best of Roald Dahl

Book #44 on my reading list this year was The Best of Roald Dahl.

First off, yes this is the same Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach fame (and no his young YA stories are not included here). Turns out when Dahl wasn't churning out children's classics he was using that same delightfully twisted mind to write sinister short stories for adults. Yeah!

Clocking in at 520 pages, this 'Best of' collection could probably have used a heavier editing hand. Many of Dahl's earlier stories suffer from the 'ironic twist ending that you know is coming and thus is no longer really a twist' problem. With the stories arranged chronologically here I was got close to giving up early on, but was really glad I stuck it out as the later stories turned out to be superb. I'd recommend seeking out a better collection but the stories are definitely worth reading especially if you were a Dahl fan growing up.

Fun fact: "Man From the South" was adapted into Quentin Tarantino's piece in Four Rooms. How cool is that?

Dahl on Wikipedia
Official site

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