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Tales of the Unexpected Paperback – July 14, 1990

4.3 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Dahl is a master at introducing readers to a new sense of what lurks beneath the ordinary.

About the Author

Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916, in Llandaff, South Wales. In 1953, he published the best-selling story collection Someone Like You and married actress Patricia Neil. He published the popular book James and the Giant Peach in 1961. In 1964, he released another highly successfuly work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was later adapted for two films. Over his decades-long writing career, Dahl wrote 19 children's books. He died on November 23, 1990, in Oxford, England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (July 14, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679729895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679729891
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Llandaff, South Wales, and went to Repton School in England. His parents were Norwegian, so holidays were spent in Norway. As he explains in Boy, he turned down the idea of university in favor of a job that would take him to"a wonderful faraway place. In 1933 he joined the Shell Company, which sent him to Mombasa in East Africa. When World War II began in 1939 he became a fighter pilot and in 1942 was made assistant air attaché in Washington, where he started to write short stories. His first major success as a writer for children was in 1964. Thereafter his children's books brought him increasing popularity, and when he died children mourned the world over, particularly in Britain where he had lived for many years.The BFG is dedicated to the memory of Roald Dahls eldest daughter, Olivia, who died from measles when she was seven - the same age at which his sister had died (fron appendicitis) over forty years before. Quentin Blake, the first Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom, has illustrated most of Roald Dahl's children's books.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Roald Dahl is at the peak of his powers in this collection. For anyone who knows him only as the author of the Willy Wonka books--or who thinks of him purely as a children's book author--this is the book to change your mind and make you think admiringly about Dahl's considerable powers as an adult writer.
The book is comprised of gem after gem. Two of Dahl's most famous stories are here. One is "Lamb to the Slaughter," about the wife of a police detective who kills her husband in a most unconventional way and then disposes of the murder weapon in a manner that would make any criminal proud. The other, "Nunc Dimittis," describes the lengths to which a society smoothie goes for revenge.
Dahl's descriptive powers are basic, but his imagination is limitless. He manages to calmly, smoothly pull you into his stories and make the most outrageous things seem perfectly in keeping and perfectly normal--while still just a bit askew.
The stories are all vintage Dahl. Each has elements of the macabre and the grotesque, couched in the comfortable trappings of middle-class life: marriage, tidy houses, bills, resentment, secrets, tidy houses, and so on. Dahl pulls off the neat trick of making the macabre laughable, though--he's not trying to scare the reader as much as make us shout with laughter and recognition and then settle back to enjoy a shiver of anticipation. In "William and Mary," the terminally ill narrator is propositioned by a neurosurgeon friend to give his brain up for experimentation after death. Despite the gruesome details, the story is hilarious:
" . . . So when I get you on the table I will take a saw, a small oscillating saw, and with this I shall proceed to remove the whole vault of your skull.
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By A Customer on March 4, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was enchanted with Roald Dahl's writing as a child ever since I read CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across this book while browsing through the shelves of my university's library. After reading TASTE and then LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, I found it difficult to put the book down. I find Dahl's style of writing and his keen attention to detail an absolute delight. Every story is a treat and I relish the moments that I have a bit of time to read a story or two. As a busy student, I don't have much time for recreational reading, and that's why short stories are a favorite. I enjoyed the book so much that I decided to purchase a personal copy from Amazon because this is a book I would like to read more than once. I had just been reading some of Shirley Jackson's short stories and was delighted to find another author who is consumately skilled in the genre. For those of you who like unusual stories with a twist, this book is for you.
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Format: Paperback
This is a terrific book of some of Roald Dahl's most deliciously twisted stories. Always suprising, clever, ingenious and, of course, unexpected!!! Deceptively simple writing with attention to odd and ordinary detail reveals wonderfully wicked stories. I cackled through the whole thing. Some are also quite thought-provoking, like "Genisis and Catastrophe." Favorite stories include "The Sound Machine" "Skin" "William and Mary" and "Georgy Porgy". HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, unless you like your stories cute and wholesome, in which case you'll probably be offended by this book. Thanks for listining!
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By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I can't believe so many people have written such scathing reviews of this book- you're putting people off! If you are a Dahl fan, this book won't dissapoint. If you're looking for scary, mysterious stories(ie point horror etc) then look elsewhere. All in all, I love Roald Dahl, and was glad that when I had read all his childrens stories I could onto this. Brilliant!
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Format: Paperback
I decided to forgo reading the 900 page volume of all of Roald Dahl's short stories and purchase a smaller collection to make sure I actually liked them first. And I did. Tales of the Unexpected is full of just that - tales with so many unexpected events. This is Roald Dahl at his morbid best. His children's books may be morbid, but they're nothing in comparison to his adult short stories. I particularly liked "Lamb to the Slaughter"; it was funny in a bleak sort of way. "Man From the South" is of course, genius. It's about a ridiculous bet that happens. "Taste" also deals with a huge, and plain foolish, bet. "Dip in the Pool" was really good too. There were more that I loved, but it would take too long to list them here. But Roald Dahl is a genius. In about 10 pages, he manages to make you drawn into the story, makes you feel chilled, and makes you gasp. All of the stories take place in the ordinary world, but what lurks beneath it is stunningly portrayed. Human nature is laid bare, events are laid bare, and Dahl draws heavily from his own childhood experiences in many of the stories.

The stories also never end in anything definitive; Dahl gives just enough of a conclusion to keep you wonder and guessing and thinking. In "Nunc Dimittis" for example, the ending is such a teaser. The story itself is wonderful, and at the end, you think you know what happened, but you can't be 100 % sure. Roald Dahl's tales really are unexpected; there were many instances when the story took a twist that I was shocked by, a twist that I hadn't expected at all. And that makes the stories all the more delicious. They're aptly named, that's for sure, and I loved them.

I don't know if I have a specific favorite story; they were all really good, and all really chilling and effective.
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