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The Complete Short Stories: Volume One 1944-1953

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The Complete Short Stories of Roald Dahl in the first of two unsettling and sinister volumes. 'They are brutal, these stories, and yet you finish reading each one with a smile, or maybe even a hollow laugh, certainly a shiver of gratification, because the conclusion always seems so right' Charlie Higson, from his introduction. Roald Dahl is one of the most popular writers of The Complete Short Stories of Roald Dahl in the first of two unsettling and sinister volumes. 'They are brutal, these stories, and yet you finish reading each one with a smile, or maybe even a hollow laugh, certainly a shiver of gratification, because the conclusion always seems so right' Charlie Higson, from his introduction. Roald Dahl is one of the most popular writers of the modern age, effortlessly writing for children and adults alike. In this, the first of two volumes chronologically collecting all his published adult short stories, we see how Dahl began by using his experiences in the war to write fiction but quickly turned to his powerful and dark imagination to pen some of the most unsettling and disquieting tales ever written. In 27 stories, written between 1944 and 1953, we encounter such classic tales as 'Man from the South', featuring a wager with appalling consequences; 'Lamb to the Slaughter', in which a wife murders her husband yet has a novel idea for throwing the police off the scent; and in 'The Sound Machine', the horrific truth about plants is revealed. Enter the sinister, twisted world of Roald Dahl: whether you're young or old, you'll never want to leave. 'Roald Dahl is one of the few writers I know whose work can accurately be described as addictive' Irish Times 'The great magician' Spectator Look out for Volume Two, introduced by Anthony Horowitz Roald Dahl, the brilliant and worldwide acclaimed author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and many more classics for children, also wrote scores of short stories for adults. These delightfully disturbing tales have often been filmed and were most recently the inspiration for the West End play, Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales by Jeremy Dyson. Roald Dahl's stories continue to make readers shiver today.


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The Complete Short Stories of Roald Dahl in the first of two unsettling and sinister volumes. 'They are brutal, these stories, and yet you finish reading each one with a smile, or maybe even a hollow laugh, certainly a shiver of gratification, because the conclusion always seems so right' Charlie Higson, from his introduction. Roald Dahl is one of the most popular writers of The Complete Short Stories of Roald Dahl in the first of two unsettling and sinister volumes. 'They are brutal, these stories, and yet you finish reading each one with a smile, or maybe even a hollow laugh, certainly a shiver of gratification, because the conclusion always seems so right' Charlie Higson, from his introduction. Roald Dahl is one of the most popular writers of the modern age, effortlessly writing for children and adults alike. In this, the first of two volumes chronologically collecting all his published adult short stories, we see how Dahl began by using his experiences in the war to write fiction but quickly turned to his powerful and dark imagination to pen some of the most unsettling and disquieting tales ever written. In 27 stories, written between 1944 and 1953, we encounter such classic tales as 'Man from the South', featuring a wager with appalling consequences; 'Lamb to the Slaughter', in which a wife murders her husband yet has a novel idea for throwing the police off the scent; and in 'The Sound Machine', the horrific truth about plants is revealed. Enter the sinister, twisted world of Roald Dahl: whether you're young or old, you'll never want to leave. 'Roald Dahl is one of the few writers I know whose work can accurately be described as addictive' Irish Times 'The great magician' Spectator Look out for Volume Two, introduced by Anthony Horowitz Roald Dahl, the brilliant and worldwide acclaimed author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and many more classics for children, also wrote scores of short stories for adults. These delightfully disturbing tales have often been filmed and were most recently the inspiration for the West End play, Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales by Jeremy Dyson. Roald Dahl's stories continue to make readers shiver today.

30 review for The Complete Short Stories: Volume One 1944-1953

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rubi

    Some stories are simply amazing but others... boring,"nonsense" and without a proper end. Ok, I like stories in which you can imagine the end yourself...but not like this. If I had to choose the best story of this collection I'd rather say "Royal Jelly": I had such a good time reading this one. So...this is not a book to read from cover to cover in a hurry. So many stories to enjoy if you have time to think about them when you finish them. Some stories are simply amazing but others... boring,"nonsense" and without a proper end. Ok, I like stories in which you can imagine the end yourself...but not like this. If I had to choose the best story of this collection I'd rather say "Royal Jelly": I had such a good time reading this one. So...this is not a book to read from cover to cover in a hurry. So many stories to enjoy if you have time to think about them when you finish them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Clouds

    None bad. All pretty good, but never loved it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rhys

    A brilliant collection of stories that are at the "excellent" end of the "conventional" spectrum of the short story as an artform. What I mean by this is that Dahl rarely or never experiments with form and his subject matter is nearly always orthodox; but that he is an absolute master of this kind of fiction. This, the first volume of his Complete Short Stories, contains two entire collections, Over to You and Someone Like You as well as two other stories that appeared in later collections. All t A brilliant collection of stories that are at the "excellent" end of the "conventional" spectrum of the short story as an artform. What I mean by this is that Dahl rarely or never experiments with form and his subject matter is nearly always orthodox; but that he is an absolute master of this kind of fiction. This, the first volume of his Complete Short Stories, contains two entire collections, Over to You and Someone Like You as well as two other stories that appeared in later collections. All the stories are superb. There's isn't a dud among them. Even 'The Mildenhall Treasure', a 'non-fiction story' which is probably the weakest piece in the book, is fascinating. I was particularly impressed by the early stories partly based on his wartime experiences. Dahl was clearly a writer who didn't need much of a run up before launching himself as a very accomplished author. His earliest tales are as polished and fine as his later work; indeed, in some ways, the earliest tales are his most emotionally profound. 'An African Story' is a disturbing and savage revenge tale; 'They Shall Not Grow Old' is a remarkably original ghost story; 'Madame Rosette', about some off-duty airmen who decide to liberate captive prostitutes from a brothel, is a triumph. Picking a favourite from the entire book isn't easy but 'The Sound Machine' is a very important story with a stunning concept and 'Dip in the Pool' is also an utterly tremendous example of acute irony. The famous 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'Man From the South' are as good as their reputation would lead one to believe; but 'Skin' is even better, a pitch perfect 'horror' tale. And yet the major highlight is possibly the four part mini-suite 'Claud's Dog', which presents a bleak, chilling and darkly humorous account of rural life among farms and temporary dog-racing tracks.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy Westgarth

    One to take your time over. This book isn't something that can be read cover to cover in one sitting. You need to set aside time to appreciate and absorb each story before moving on. The quality of writing here is excellent. That cannot be denied. Roald Dahl manages to create the stories around you in a descriptive and at times emotive way, but it's never pretentious. The stories are down to earth and human and you always feel involved with what's going on. I have to agree with other reviews tha One to take your time over. This book isn't something that can be read cover to cover in one sitting. You need to set aside time to appreciate and absorb each story before moving on. The quality of writing here is excellent. That cannot be denied. Roald Dahl manages to create the stories around you in a descriptive and at times emotive way, but it's never pretentious. The stories are down to earth and human and you always feel involved with what's going on. I have to agree with other reviews that there are some more interesting stories than others. But even if the story isn't your favourite, it still feels clever and well thought out. And of course each have the tongue-in-cheek slightly macabre, sinister edge Dahl is famous for. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next voume.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    I love Roald Dahl's short stories, which are surprisingly macabre and uncanny as well as entertaining. His work is very well written, engaging, and often takes a number of unexpected turns. I am always surprised at the depravity of character that Dahl depicts – his sorties often come to very unfortunate, even nightmarish, ends. This is a great book to dip into at leisure. I love Roald Dahl's short stories, which are surprisingly macabre and uncanny as well as entertaining. His work is very well written, engaging, and often takes a number of unexpected turns. I am always surprised at the depravity of character that Dahl depicts – his sorties often come to very unfortunate, even nightmarish, ends. This is a great book to dip into at leisure.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric Stockwell

    Each story is dark, morbid, glib, and ends on its own unique note of dangling existential horror.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grace Harris

    Roald Dahl is probably best known to most people as the children's author behind such classics as 'The BFG', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'Fantastic Mr Fox', 'The Twits' and 'Matilda'. His stories are well known for being funny, odd but intrinsically magical. But Dahl's adult short stories that the well known TV show 'Tales of the Unexpected' was based on seem to be from a completely different author. They share the humour that Dahl's other works are infused with but often have incredibly Roald Dahl is probably best known to most people as the children's author behind such classics as 'The BFG', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'Fantastic Mr Fox', 'The Twits' and 'Matilda'. His stories are well known for being funny, odd but intrinsically magical. But Dahl's adult short stories that the well known TV show 'Tales of the Unexpected' was based on seem to be from a completely different author. They share the humour that Dahl's other works are infused with but often have incredibly dark elements that spring from strange plot twists. Dahl's adult fiction is almost Gaiman-like in its frequent elements of the morbid yet fantastic. And yet, there is something so inherently Dahl in each story, a dark reality that clouds each tale. There is no doubt that Dahl's depiction of the world is cynical but that makes it all the more natural. Of course there are murderers like the wife in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' that hoodwink the police and get away with their crime and yet the scenario is so incredible that you can't help but be impressed with her ingenuity. There are rarely heroes in Dahl's adult tales, and even those who we might consider to be the "good guy" rarely meet a good end. For example, in 'Claud's Dog: Mr Feasey' the reader probably roots for Claud and the narrator to get their winnings so that Claud can provide for his girlfriend when they get married. And yet, when the men are cheated by the bookmakers you feel disappointed but ultimately it is not a bad ending because there is a sense of justice in the men not profiting by their cheating ways. This volume's introduction is written by Charlie Higson, who brands the stories as "some of the most unsettling tales ever written". Now, in fairness, some of the tales do have an unpleasant edge. No one likes the idea of a cat being thrown in a bonfire, let alone a cat who's actually the reincarnated Franz Liszt. And yet, I would say that these stories are not quite the most unsettling I've ever read, often the twists are shocking but none of the stories made me shudder, or want to sleep with the light on. They're stunning works of fiction but I'd have to argue that if you want something that will unsettle you you're better off reading Poe or Lovecraft. That being said, if you read Dahl's childrens book and then a few of these tales, I wouldn't blame you for being reluctant to believe they're by the same person. But even Dahl's children's stories were never entirely without a darker edge; the witches hate children, Matilda's family and headteacher are brutes and Willy Wonka is far from mentally sound. Dahl was never known for entirely happy, bubbly, feel good stories but that never mattered as his tales were always exciting, creative and entirely enthralling.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mafalda Fernandes

    - Katina 4* - Only This - 5* - Beware of the Dog - 3* - An African Story - 3* - Yesterday was Beautiful - 4* - A Piece of Cake - 4* - They Shall Not Grow Old - 4,5* - Madame Rosesette - 4.5* - Death of an Old Old Man 4* - Someone Like You 3* - The Mildenhall Treasure 4* - Man from the South 4,5* - The Sound Machine 4,5* - Poison 3* - Taste 5* - Dip in the Pool 4,5* - Skin 5* - My Lady Love, My Dove 4.5* - Lamb to the Slaughter 5* - Nunc Dimittis 5* - Edward the Conqueror 4.5* - Galloping Foxley 4* - Neck 5* - The Wish - Katina 4* - Only This - 5* - Beware of the Dog - 3* - An African Story - 3* - Yesterday was Beautiful - 4* - A Piece of Cake - 4* - They Shall Not Grow Old - 4,5* - Madame Rosesette - 4.5* - Death of an Old Old Man 4* - Someone Like You 3* - The Mildenhall Treasure 4* - Man from the South 4,5* - The Sound Machine 4,5* - Poison 3* - Taste 5* - Dip in the Pool 4,5* - Skin 5* - My Lady Love, My Dove 4.5* - Lamb to the Slaughter 5* - Nunc Dimittis 5* - Edward the Conqueror 4.5* - Galloping Foxley 4* - Neck 5* - The Wish 4* - The Soldier 3* - The Great Automatic Grammatizator 5* - Claud's Dog 4*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rabia Bashir

    What a collection! Each story took me to a place unknown and kept me there until the end. It was revealing to go to the beginning of Roald's writing career and see why his early work got into literary magazines. I not only read but I studied each story... Picking up on the way he crafts his sentences, his scenes. Look forward to reading the remaining short stories he published! What a collection! Each story took me to a place unknown and kept me there until the end. It was revealing to go to the beginning of Roald's writing career and see why his early work got into literary magazines. I not only read but I studied each story... Picking up on the way he crafts his sentences, his scenes. Look forward to reading the remaining short stories he published!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book is difficult to rate. Some of the stories in it are boring whilst others are passionate. I particularly enjoyed 'Switch Bitch' because of the unpredictable twists in its plots. 'William and Mary' with its goriness was another of my favourite story in this volume. This book is difficult to rate. Some of the stories in it are boring whilst others are passionate. I particularly enjoyed 'Switch Bitch' because of the unpredictable twists in its plots. 'William and Mary' with its goriness was another of my favourite story in this volume.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adele

    I feel like I've climbed a mountain now I have finally finished this collection. Overall I only really enjoyed a couple of these early short stories, many I skimmed through. Hopefully the second volume will be filled with more entertaining stories! I feel like I've climbed a mountain now I have finally finished this collection. Overall I only really enjoyed a couple of these early short stories, many I skimmed through. Hopefully the second volume will be filled with more entertaining stories!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Giovanni Monachello

    'An enjoyable read, that doesn't always have a twist in the tale.' It begins well...but that is if you begin towards the middle section stories. This is because you have done the right thing and read the introduction. If at your reading peril, you have failed to carry out this cardinal rule of reading the introduction of a book, (unless of course the introduction is a spoiler and you have been warned within the first few lines of the introduction to stop right there and quickly move on to the beg 'An enjoyable read, that doesn't always have a twist in the tale.' It begins well...but that is if you begin towards the middle section stories. This is because you have done the right thing and read the introduction. If at your reading peril, you have failed to carry out this cardinal rule of reading the introduction of a book, (unless of course the introduction is a spoiler and you have been warned within the first few lines of the introduction to stop right there and quickly move on to the beginning of the tale, you are about to encounter)...well...then you will be greeted with a rather tame opening. This may, tragically, affect your judgement of the book to a point where you may feel let down. Once again, however, if you have read the introduction you are warned, unequivocally, that the earlier stories reflect the preliminary attempts of a nascent great writer to form his own unique style. So I urge you, nay entreat you, do not ignore the introduction; in this particular book, any how. Once you have complied with the introductory decree and as you turn the pages, Dahl's style evolves, organically, to what many of us, who have come across his more adult stories both in book and television are more accustomed to. Yes, if you like me remember The Tales Of The Unexpected on television, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, then Dahl is probably more associated with this adult fiction, than the child literature loved by many. Actually, I loved and admired The Tales Of The Unexpected so much that I, at the time, frequently recounted stories to my uninitiated teenage peers, to their overall delight. This is a strictly chronological history of Dahl's writing, so one is allowed to forgive the publishers for including Dahl's salad day writings, which remain in a peculiar way interesting, if not as entertaining as his later writings. If one scrutinizes the early stories one can just barely see the green shoots of how his later writing would evolve. Also, although these embryonic tales do have a tinge of darkness interwoven in their narrative, particularly his recounting of death and destruction in a wartime context, they are also quite innocent compared to the later stories. This, I would assume, would be a crucial piece of work for any students of Dahl; of which I am sure there are many. Nevertheless, one, inebriated with his later work, does find themselves always going back to the thought at the back of the mind; when will these plots become darker? When does Dahl become that avuncular figure with the aggressively receding hair on his shiny bald cranium, innocuously sitting in a comfortable winged chair, by a warm fireside, about to slowly but surely dis construct these snug and agreeable images, by his sharp, plot twisting shadowy tales. Thankfully, and to one's mental relief the introduction does its job and the stories do, eventually, become much more juicer and you feel yourself beginning to anticipate more profoundly, mentally guarding yourself against the bolt from the blue that our kind and generous author will inevitably hand out. Believe me there are stories in this little book that will be have this affect on one. On the other hand, there a number of later stories that do, for me anyhow, frustratingly leave the ending to your interpretation of what could happen next and you feel at times that you have been suddenly cut off; leaving a sensation of wanting a little more from that particular tale. Very clever by the great man to do this, however, it can also become a little burdensome at times on the reader who may want the author to finish off and tie up any loose ends of what may have been a very entertaining yarn. It is, nevertheless, a good read overall. Dahl is unquestionably a great writer and to some, a genre all to himself. However, as you may agree, that in this particular treatise I am so glad that there is an introductory warning.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    I have now finished every single adult short story Roald Dahl ever published! It’s a triumph, though also very sad as I’ll miss them lots. (Got to reread some of them though.) I finished Volume Two last year. I did prefer that one; the number of memorable gems in that one were higher. This volume contains lots of semi-autobiographical wartime ones, which make for very interesting and reflective reading but aren’t quite as deliciously macabre as his fictional fiction. The best of the wartime ones I have now finished every single adult short story Roald Dahl ever published! It’s a triumph, though also very sad as I’ll miss them lots. (Got to reread some of them though.) I finished Volume Two last year. I did prefer that one; the number of memorable gems in that one were higher. This volume contains lots of semi-autobiographical wartime ones, which make for very interesting and reflective reading but aren’t quite as deliciously macabre as his fictional fiction. The best of the wartime ones are probably Beware of the Dog and They Shall Not Grow Old. Among the non-wartime ones, we get to his usual marvellously dark, sinister, and disturbing style. The very best are: Lamb to the Slaughter Dip in the Pool Galloping Foxley Man From The South Poison The Mildenhall Treasure (apparently based on a true story!) They are all masterpieces, especially those top four. Definitely start reading this collection with Lamb to the Slaughter; it is my contender for the best short story ever written and possibly the best thing Roald Dahl ever wrote. As with Volume Two, there isn’t a bad story in this collection. The only possible contender would be The Wish but even that I wouldn’t remove. Several of them - A Piece of Cake, Taste, Skin, My Lady Love My Dove, Nunc Dimittis, Neck, Claud’s Dog - I remember loving, but the plots have completely slipped my mind. Maybe they’re due a reread (especially Claud’s Dog). Roald Dahl is one of the best authors to have ever lived. His adult literature is such a rewarding world beyond his children’s books; you will not regret buying this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim Symes

    This collection includes Roald Dahl's earliest published works, which were pieces about his experiences as a fighter pilot during World War II. The first story, about being shot down over the Libyan desert, was originally written when a journalist asked Dahl for some notes on the incident, and advised him to 'provide a lot of detail'. Dahl took this advice to heart, and in the end, the journalist decided to publish Dahl's 'notes' unedited as they were so good. Thus encouraged, Dahl wrote several This collection includes Roald Dahl's earliest published works, which were pieces about his experiences as a fighter pilot during World War II. The first story, about being shot down over the Libyan desert, was originally written when a journalist asked Dahl for some notes on the incident, and advised him to 'provide a lot of detail'. Dahl took this advice to heart, and in the end, the journalist decided to publish Dahl's 'notes' unedited as they were so good. Thus encouraged, Dahl wrote several more war reminiscences and these make up the first third of this collection. They are gripping, first-hand accounts of the reality of war with plenty of banal detail that makes it easy to imagine being there. He reveals some of the tricks the mind can play when in the grip of real terror, and the bravery, dignity and spirit of those caught up in these events. Of the remaining 17 stories, some are so odd or disturbing that you will remember them forever. I won't single any out for special mention as I personally dislike reviews (or forewords) that tell the reader which stories to look out for. It sets up an expectation in the reader to prepare for something special, and actually spoils the surprise of discovering it for yourself. You will know them when you see them. The thing I like best about Dahl's work generally, but show in these short stories especially, is that it is non-formulaic. I doubt whether any creative writing course or workshop would teach you how to write stories like these.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Sherman

    Volume One meets with my high approval and I anticipate starting Volume Two soon. The first dozen or so stories were about flying planes in WW2, which Roald Dahl himself did. I loved these stories the most and they reminded me of Hemingway's war stories, just a bit. They were dark and funny and beautiful and tragic all at the same time. Shortly after reading one beautiful story about a pilot who has a near-death experience, hallucinating (or seeing, it's up to your own opinion of the story) all Volume One meets with my high approval and I anticipate starting Volume Two soon. The first dozen or so stories were about flying planes in WW2, which Roald Dahl himself did. I loved these stories the most and they reminded me of Hemingway's war stories, just a bit. They were dark and funny and beautiful and tragic all at the same time. Shortly after reading one beautiful story about a pilot who has a near-death experience, hallucinating (or seeing, it's up to your own opinion of the story) all the dead pilots flying into a beautiful blue sky together, I saw this exact scene reinvented in an anime movie called "Porco Rosso", about a pilot. I immediately knew it was from the Roald Dahl story and was glad I had just finished reading it the day before, so it was fresh in my mind. Most of the stories after these I loved. They are well-written, intriguing, mysterious, almost nail-biting as the plot unfolds. The stories are dark, but aren't most short stories? They are darkly comedic and always creative. I love seeing the other side of him after reading and seeing the movies of his children's books. Can't wait for more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris Orme

    1/120 (2020 Reading Challenge) A great collection of RD stories. In chronological order it seems so it is interesting to see him develop as a writer. It starts off with a lot of war stories, but write what you know. So it’s interesting to catch that inner minds view of time & place. He is always such a readable writer. The first writer I became interested in. From his children’s stories. Even if I can still enjoy them as an adult. The macabre sense of humour is definitely here at times just turne 1/120 (2020 Reading Challenge) A great collection of RD stories. In chronological order it seems so it is interesting to see him develop as a writer. It starts off with a lot of war stories, but write what you know. So it’s interesting to catch that inner minds view of time & place. He is always such a readable writer. The first writer I became interested in. From his children’s stories. Even if I can still enjoy them as an adult. The macabre sense of humour is definitely here at times just turned to more ‘adult’ subjects. Definitely worth a read, even if his true classics will always be in children’s (so in a way, all ages) literature.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    I enjoyed this book. I have happy memories of watching his 'Tales of the Unexpected' years ago with my parents & some of these are featured here. ( I have also been watching them on YouTube). New to me were his stories influenced by his time as an RAF pilot in the war, which were poignant & moving. I would have liked to have given it a 3.5 rating. I wasn't keen on the stories about the rat catcher, but like the others, they are well written- just not my personal taste! I would definitely read mo I enjoyed this book. I have happy memories of watching his 'Tales of the Unexpected' years ago with my parents & some of these are featured here. ( I have also been watching them on YouTube). New to me were his stories influenced by his time as an RAF pilot in the war, which were poignant & moving. I would have liked to have given it a 3.5 rating. I wasn't keen on the stories about the rat catcher, but like the others, they are well written- just not my personal taste! I would definitely read more of his work & can recommend this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pia Sophia

    Reading Dahl’s short stories reminds me of why I loved him so much as a kid. Some stories are funny, others make you cringe, sometimes they leave you confused which makes you want to reread the whole thing to find the clue that makes the puzzle complete. Dahl is intense. His words stick with you wherever you go. Which makes this a book you simply cannot read in one sitting. Gift yourself time to let his words sink in, and you’ll get a glimpse of the magic that went on in his genius mind.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bahman Bahman

    Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 to November 23, 1990) was a British author who penned 19 children's books over his decades-long writing career. In 1953 he published the best-selling story collection Someone Like You and married actress Patricia Neal. He published the popular book James and the Giant Peach in 1961. In 1964 he released another highly successful work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was later adapted for two films. Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 to November 23, 1990) was a British author who penned 19 children's books over his decades-long writing career. In 1953 he published the best-selling story collection Someone Like You and married actress Patricia Neal. He published the popular book James and the Giant Peach in 1961. In 1964 he released another highly successful work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was later adapted for two films.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kamil

    A volume of short stories spanning the first decade of Dahl's career. Listed chronologically, the stories show his progression as a writer, beginning with pieces based on war experiences before quickly developing into his signature style of humorous yet slightly unnerving tales. Despite some strange subject matter, the individual stories are unfailingly engaging, as Dahl's writing wastes no time grabbing attention, crafting lifesize characters and building to often unsettling conclusions. A volume of short stories spanning the first decade of Dahl's career. Listed chronologically, the stories show his progression as a writer, beginning with pieces based on war experiences before quickly developing into his signature style of humorous yet slightly unnerving tales. Despite some strange subject matter, the individual stories are unfailingly engaging, as Dahl's writing wastes no time grabbing attention, crafting lifesize characters and building to often unsettling conclusions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joe Hudson

    I've had this book sitting in my to read pile for about six years. I've moved house three times and it's stayed sat in the same pile. I just kept putting it off. I regret that so much! Roald Dahl is a fantastic author and is so clever with words. It is amazing to see his writing evolve from his early days in the RAF though to the 60s. Looking forward to reading volume 2 soon! I've had this book sitting in my to read pile for about six years. I've moved house three times and it's stayed sat in the same pile. I just kept putting it off. I regret that so much! Roald Dahl is a fantastic author and is so clever with words. It is amazing to see his writing evolve from his early days in the RAF though to the 60s. Looking forward to reading volume 2 soon!

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Dransfield

    Absolutely loved my first foray into the world of Roald Dahl shorts, Particular favorites where Katina, Beware of the Dog, The Sound Machine, Man from the South, 'Skin' was quite clever and gruesome, loved 'Neck', The Soldier was a brutal tale of PTSD and takes my top spot I think, and Claude's dog finished it off nicely Absolutely loved my first foray into the world of Roald Dahl shorts, Particular favorites where Katina, Beware of the Dog, The Sound Machine, Man from the South, 'Skin' was quite clever and gruesome, loved 'Neck', The Soldier was a brutal tale of PTSD and takes my top spot I think, and Claude's dog finished it off nicely

  23. 4 out of 5

    Netsen7Bookdragon

    Although there is a lot of stories I have read in this one, like lamb for slaughter, skin, an African story, and a lot of others , some were still new to me in this book. I especially liked the story Katina and the sound machine of those. All in all every story has you by the fingertips and won’t let you go, even when you finish them. I recommend it to everyone that is a fan of Dahl.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sydni

    Love having the whole (first half of the) collection! Dahl’s shirt stories are the best. So clever, unpredictable, and sinister yet oddly satisfying. I enjoyed every story. Favorites from this collection are: An African Story Yesterday was Beautiful Man from the South Taste Poison Dip in the Pool My Lady Love, My Dove Lamb to the Slaughter Neck Claud’s Dog (particularly Mr Feasey)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jade Jones

    This was my first introduction to his adult works. I was completely blown away, reading his famous works as a child I have always had a soft spot but I never imagined him to be so brilliant at adult stories. I especially enjoyed the way stories as you can tell they come from experience. Some of the stores were quite creepy but I lived everyone!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gerry Mander

    Most stories were good and left me in a state of needing to pause for a while - just to absorb it all. Some were "meh". But all in all, I found a certain weird level of comfort in the "darkness" of this book. It's all pretty bleak yet comforting at the same time. I do like it a lot for its quirkiness. Most stories were good and left me in a state of needing to pause for a while - just to absorb it all. Some were "meh". But all in all, I found a certain weird level of comfort in the "darkness" of this book. It's all pretty bleak yet comforting at the same time. I do like it a lot for its quirkiness.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maggy

    I feel horrible eating anything Roald Dahl 3 stars, but as another reviewer wrote, this is good, but not great. There were a couple stories I would say I really liked, but again, I’m not raving about them. I’m hoping the second volume is more rave-worthy. (But seriously, I’m such a fan, that if I thought RD might see this review I’d have to lie. I feel sort of like I’m betraying a friend!)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Always interesting, fun and a little bit of a strange journey is reading Dahl. These short stories are no exception. From his early days, including those published during WW2, they give great insight to what shaped him and his later fiction. Well worth a read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adoptry

    Read 2 of the 3 books in this - Kiss, Kiss and Switch, Bitch. The middle one - I forget the name - was of stories set during WW2. I tried a couple and found them uninteresting but KK and SB are both pretty good!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Renetta Neal

    Really enjoyed these stories, hadn't realised that Roald Dahl had written for adults too. I found these stories both inspiring and intellectually challenging as.....you'll have to read them for yourself to find out why :-) No fluffy stuff here! Really enjoyed these stories, hadn't realised that Roald Dahl had written for adults too. I found these stories both inspiring and intellectually challenging as.....you'll have to read them for yourself to find out why :-) No fluffy stuff here!

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