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Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 14, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
In this wonderful and compelling biography, Donald Sturrock rises to the challenge of writing a biography almost as interesting as the stories of its subject. Dahl apparently found biographies boring. "Why on earth would anyone choose to read an assemblage of detail, a catalogue of facts, when there was so much good fiction around as an alternative?" (p6). I loved many elements of this book; among my favorites are the following:
1. While Sturrock is clearly a friendly biographer, he paints no picture of a saint, demonstrating how much previous biographical work on Dahl is rose-colored, how Dahl was mercurial - by turns generous and kind and then rude and judgmental, sometimes (later in life) making unfortunate public statements.
2. Dahl was a storyteller through and through: many stories from his own memoirs was fictionalized. "I don't lie. I merely make the truth a little more interesting..." (p4)
3.Read more ›
The misanthropic bent of Dahl's stories for children and adults -- a tincture that also noticeably colors CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1964), his best-loved novel -- appears to have had many sources. Along with the classic "bad time at a boarding school" (Repton, in his case), Dahl suffered a near-fatal plane crash as a young RAF pilot. In keeping with his tendency to embellish the truth of events in his life, Dahl's smash-up, which was entirely due to "pilot error," was gradually transubstantiated into the tale of an heroic lost dogfight with enemy planes. Dahl's opinion of human nature can't have been elevated by his subsequent service as an air attache and espionage agent in the United States, which gave him opportunities to both hobnob with the powerful (FDR, then Vice-President Henry Wallace) and bed-hop with willing older females. How firmly established Dahl's jaundiced view of life had become by the end of the war is symbolized by the fate of The Gremlins, the little plane-sabotaging critters that represented his highest pre-CHARLIE flight of whimsical fancy.Read more ›