(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.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Jeremy Treglown
An African Story
Beware of the Dog
They Shall Not Grow Old
Someone Like You
Death of an Old Old Man
A Piece of Cake
Yesterday Was Beautiful
Man from the South
The Sound Machine
Vengeance Is Mine Inc.
Dip in the Pond
The Great Automatic Grammatizator
My Lady Love, My Dove
Lamb to Slaughter
Edward the Conqueror
The Way Up to Heaven
William and Mary
Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat
The Champion of the World
Genesis and Catastrophe
The Last Act
The Great Switcheroo
Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life
The Umbrella Man
Appendix: Dates of Composition and First Publication
About Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Llandaff, South Wales, and went to Repton School in England. His parents were Norwegian, so holidays were spent in Norway. As he explains in Boy, he turned down the idea of university in favor of a job that would take him to 'a wonderful faraway place'. In 1933 he joined the Shell Company, which sent him to Mombasa in East Africa. When World War II began in 1939 he became a fighter pilot and in 1942 was made assistant air attaché in Washington, where he started to write short stories. His first major success as a writer for children was in 1964. Thereafter his children's books brought him increasing popularity, and when he died children mourned the world over, particularly in Britain where he had lived for many years.
The BFG is dedicated to the memory of Roald Dahl's eldest daughter, Olivia, who died from measles when she was seven – the same age at which his sister had died (fron appendicitis) over forty years before.
Quentin Blake, the first Children’s Laureate of the United Kingdom, has illustrated most of Roald Dahl’s children’s books.
“With the inventive power of a Thomas Edison and the imagination of a Lewis Carroll . . . Roald Dahl is a wizard of comedy and the grotesque, an artist with a marvelously topsy-turvy sense of the ridiculous in life.”
—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
“Dahl has the mastery of plot and characters possessed by great writers of the past, along with a wildness and wryness of his own. One of his trademarks is writing beautifully about the ugly, even the horrible.”
—LOS ANGELES TIMES
“A collection of Roald Dahl stories is always occasion for applause.”
—CHICAGO DAILY NEWS
“An ingenious imagination, a fascination with odd and ordinary detail . . . are the first strengths of Dahl’s storytelling.”
—NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“[Dahl’s] stare is unblinking, and most of his tales are irritants, provocations. Fantastic as Grimm, neat as O. Henry, heartless as Saki, they stick in the mind long after subtler ones have faded: incredible (literally), unforgettable, and vengefully funny.”
—from the Introduction by Jeremy Treglown