Innocence by Roald Dahl

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Innocence by Roald Dahl

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Part of a beautiful new collection celebrating a centenary since the birth of Roald Dahl - Innocence combines innocent recollections of Dahl's childhood with some of his darkly humoured short tales - a compelling volume that is well worth adding to your collection if you're a fan of Dahl or a newcomer to his work.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Penguin
External links: [ Author's website]
ISBN: 978-1405933254

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What makes us innocent and how do we come to lose it? Featuring the autobiographical stories telling of Roald Dahl's boyhood and youth as well as four further tales of innocence betrayed, Dahl touches on the joys and horrors of growing up. Among other stories, you'll read about the wager that destroys a girl's faith in her father, the landlady who has plans for her unsuspecting young guest and the commuter who is horrified to discover that a fellow passenger once bullied him at school.

Roald Dahl was born on the 13th September 1916, so to celebrate his centenary Penguin have published seven collections of his stories - Innocence, Lust, Madness, Cruelty, Deception, Trickery, War and Fear. Innocence contains a few short stories from Dahl's back catalogue, but also features some choice moments from Boy - his brilliant tales of his own childhood. Like the majority of my age group, my childhood was full of Dahl's amazing tales for children - from the charming and brave Fantastic Mr Fox through to the disgustingly filthy Twits. However, my real love for Dahl was sparked by reading Boy and discovering all about his childhood in Wales, Norway and boarding school - and Penguin have taken those compelling tales and included them into this collection.

From rather gruesome recollections of a swift adenoinod removal through to tales of sweets and chocolates where one can spot the origins of the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These recollections are beautifully drawn - transporting the reader to an earlier time and written with a charm and style that's Dahl at his very best. These take up about three quarters of the book - but there's also room for shorter tales of Dahl's all ranging in content, from the dark, sexual humour of Taste, the threads of obsession and revenge that push Galloping Foxley along, and the black dread that fills the reader as they read The Landlady. Penguin ends this collection with Lucky Break - an essay written by Dahl about how he became a writer. Full of reminisces about his childhood, it covers some of the same ground as Boy, but nevertheless is full of wonderful, illuminating moments that show the reader more of Dahl's life and also offer some fascinating insights into the creation of Dahl's most famous characters.

A beautiful collection, carefully curated and wonderfully presented - Innocence serves as a wonderful tribute to one of our greatest authors. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy, and for further reading I recommend George's Marvellous Medicine - a classic Dahl novel that blends Dahl's wonderful observational skills with a black humour that will amuse both adults and children alike.

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