The Complete Short Stories: Volume Two by Roald Dahl
|The Complete Short Stories: Volume Two by Roald Dahl
|Category: Short Stories
|Reviewer: Steve Shayler
|Summary: This is the second of a two volume collection compiling all of Roald Dahl’s short stories. The stories contained within this collection being written between 1954 and 1988.
|Date: September 2013
Having only recently read the first volume of this collection of all of Roald Dahl’s short stories I couldn’t help but think of the phrase too much of a good thing although I have never really agreed with the phrase (I could happily gorge on chocolate or whisky for days without the slightest regret) I am still pleased that this book provides yet more evidence of the inaccuracy of the expression. With stories as diverse as a butler getting revenge on his employer and a baby being brought up on royal jelly by a fanatical bee lover, these are tales of horror, humour, adventure, love and all out weirdness.
There is something for absolutely everyone in this collection and it is difficult not to sit smiling inanely while reading the stories. It is also difficult to just pick out a couple of stories to mention as, for me, every single one in this collection is a hit. Particular favourites of mine would have to be the tales of Uncle Oswald and the tales of scheming individuals who invent ingenious ways to extort money from people. Dahl seems to have a real knack for coming up with believable disreputable money making schemes and they are fantastic to read and leave a lasting impression.
One such story is The Bookseller which is the tale of an unpleasant little man who runs a bookshop that is a front for an extortion racket that rakes in millions of pounds from wealthy grieving widows. These widows are put in an awkward situation that could potentially prove very embarrassing and socially damaging to them if they were to report anything to the police. I can’t really say much more without giving away the gem of an idea at the centre of this tale but it is a highly amusing story with a great little sting in the tail.
The Visitor and Bitch are two thrilling stories about Uncle Oswald who is a lecherous, pompous and lovable character whose exploits are always amusing and more than a little rude at times. Oswald is an incredibly wealthy and highly-sexed member of the aristocracy who likes nothing more than love making and the pursuit of it. In Bitch he funds a scientist in his research to find a scent that will drive a man wild with sexual desire, the results of which are funny, disturbing and with a brilliant finale.
Volume Two is more in the quirky and humorous style that Roald Dahl is known for. There are more surprise endings, odd characters and unusual subject matter than in volume one which contained a lot more straight stories. Although still fantastically written, volume one showed Dahl's development as a writer, creating his own style that by volume two is fully realised.
I loved both volumes, they are both full of superbly written tales and although I thought it wasn’t possible to improve on volume one I was wrong because the second collection is if anything more entertaining thanks to Dahl having honed his writing skills and fully developed his own style. This is a great collection and I am sure that I will dip into both volumes repeatedly to re-read some of my favourite stories.
The Complete Short Stories: Volume One by Roald Dahl is pretty much an essential read in my view even though the two volumes work well as stand-alone collections. Another collection of quirky but enjoyable short stories that is well worth a read is The Color Master by Aimee Bender.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Complete Short Stories: Volume Two by Roald Dahl at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Complete Short Stories: Volume Two by Roald Dahl at Amazon.com.
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