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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Roald Dahl--wonderful, wonderful!
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...
Published on March 17, 2002 by Catherine S. Vodrey

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Tales of the Unexpected
In fact , a book worth to read , to read with pleasure. We felt throbbing by reading the three short funny tales about some interesting aspects about life and death. On the one hand a surviving brain and on the other hand a vegetarian who dies in a packing-house, we really adore those special ideas, which gave us a lot of information and made us laughing. It was...
Published on May 11, 2000 by Frank Bodmer


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Roald Dahl--wonderful, wonderful!, March 17, 2002
By 
Catherine S. Vodrey (East Liverpool, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (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. You'd still be unconscious at that point so I wouldn't have to bother with anaesthetic."
"Like hell you wouldn't," I said.
"You'd be out cold, I promise you that, William. Don't forget you DIED just a few minutes before."
"Nobody's sawing off the top of my skull without an anaesthetic," I said.
Dahl doesn't get any better than this!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Short Story Lovers, March 4, 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (Paperback)
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These are some of the best short stories EVER!!!, October 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dahls usual high standard, October 3, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Dahl -- this set is of mixed quality, July 27, 1998
This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (Paperback)
This series of stories reads more like a series of writing-projects. Some are well done -- with original ideas, subtle weavings throughout that lead to an impressive and twisted end. Others are poorly done -- with unoriginal ideas, contrived plots, and obvious (or stupid) "endings-with-a-twist."
Worth buying and reading for all Dahl fans (and most other folks) particularly if you're interested in seeing what happens when Dahl is not at his best.
Some of these were adapted for a TV series. I believe that the "Man from the South" TV episode was mentioned in Quentin Tarantino's skit in the movie "Four Rooms"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly creepy, October 9, 2013
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This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (Paperback)
You'd think the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the BFG wouldn't have such a sinister taste of humor, but you'd be wrong. This collection of stories by Roald Dahl is wonderfully disturbing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always A Winner!, August 4, 2013
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This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (Paperback)
Roald Dahl, in my opinion, is one of the greatest authors of all time. His books for children are well known, but the huge amount of writing he produced in his lifetime for adults is often played down or overlooked entirely. I'm never disappointed with his stories. He was a true creative genius with the written word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RD - whatever he writes, it's good., July 6, 2013
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This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (Paperback)
Who doesn't love Roald Dahl, whatever he writes? Can you imagine that his teachers in grade school told him that he had no future as a writer. Thankfully the guy never took such criticism to heart (a lesson to teach our kids - don't listen to people who say you can't do something, when you not only can - but you're meant to). Et voila - a terrifically entertaining collection of his short stories for adults. I especially love William and Mary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, April 9, 2013
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This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (Paperback)
I bought this book having read all the stories before as a child. Dahl was a master of the twist ending, and his technique of cutting the story off just before it finishes (as in 'Taste') allows everyone to come to their own conclusions. I use these stories in class occasionally, and they always go down a treat!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Roald Dahl, March 30, 2013
This review is from: Tales of the Unexpected (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. Some of them were perhaps a bit too effective. "Parson's Pleasure" for example had me literally gasping out loud at the end. No, gasping isn't the right word; more like, exclaiming. It was just so...evil, the ending. I could almost hear Roald Dahl laughing as he wrote it.

Often (but not always), Roald Dahl writes from the first person, but the narrator is a witness to the events. "Man From the South", one of his most famous and chilling stories is narrated by someone who witnesses the sinister bet that takes place. They're not actually a main character in the events, but they just happen to see it all. However, not all of his stories are told like that.

I really, really loved this collection of stories, and Roald Dahl was really a genius writer. I've been reading a lot of morbid fiction lately (mostly Roald Dahl), so I think I might take a break and read something lighter. Still, I would highly recommend this one.

My blog is at novareviews.blogspot.com.
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Tales of the Unexpected
Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl (Paperback - July 14, 1990)
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