Sunday, September 24, 2006


You read a few of these tales and begin to think "Ok, I'm on to him now. I can anticipate the finishing twist," and during each story you wrestle with the potentialities, narrowing them down to what you imagine will be the most sadistic, humiliating, or sordid jape, only to be disappointed by failure each time. Dahl's devious sophistication is to anticipate those who anticipate twists and one-up them with an inexhaustible fount of surprising finishes. Few writers of his calibre are so keenly good at distasteful characters either, and many loathsome sods get their comeuppance herein.

Uncle Oswald makes an appearance as well.


tina harris said...

I know the guy is a great storyteller. However, there is a dark aspect to his stories that somewhat turnis me off. I'm a walking contradition: I like the depressed types but I just don't know how to quite express, maybe a meanness in Dahl? Please help me.

And the e.coli just seems to have gotten ahold of a lot of people, including yours truly.

geoff said...

I've only read these short stories and two of his books (one being a children's tome), but I think he's keen to deflate pomposity and to give hypocrites their due, and likely understood that large majorities of humans were and always would be pompous and hypocritical. Flannery O'Connor had a similar mission, and was probably no meaner than anyone else; quite the opposite I'd imagine.

I don't agree there must be a connection. Most of us have darkness within--Dahl used his to entertain.