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The Best of Roald Dahl Paperback – July 14, 1990


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The Best of Roald Dahl + Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories + Tales of the Unexpected
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (July 14, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679729917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679729914
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

This collection brings together Dahl's finest work, illustrating his genius for the horrific and grotesque which is unparalleled.

"Dahl has the mastery of plot and characters possessed by great writers of the past, along with a wildness and wryness of his own. One of his trademarks is writing beautifully about the ugly, even the horrible."--Los Angeles Times

"An ingenious imagination, a fascination with odd and ordinary detail, and a lust for its thorough exploitation are the...strengths of Dahl's storytelling."--New York Times Book Review


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

Nearly every story in there was completely engaging and most were shockingly ended as well.
Mara Mellin
Roald Dahl is best known for his children's books, namely CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.
J. Bosiljevac
Roald Dahl managed to do this in his short stories (the shorter ones from this collection are the best!).
Aleksandra Nita-Lazar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Ran Walker on April 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am one of those people who had read many of Roald Dahl's works (from _Charlie and the Chocolate Factory_ to "Lamb to the Slaughter"), I never realized they were all by the same author. As I grew older, I fell in love all over again with Dahl's books for children, but when I stumbled across this collection, I bought it, more or less, blindly. I remember "Lamb to the Slaughter" being good, but I had not read any of the other works, nor did I know Dahl had so many collections of short stories for the more "mature" reader.
This collection is awesome. Being a fan of the O'Henry style story and the Shirley Jackson dark humor, I enjoyed myself tremendously going through each story. The writing is very clean and plot driven, so you can literally lose yourself in his stories the moment you begin them. The excerpt from _My Uncle Oswald_ called "The Visitor" is especially devilishly delicious.
Dahl is one of my favorite writers, and I feel that this collection bears very well on the legacy he left us.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Godly Gadfly on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Roald Dahl is probably most famous as a popular children's writer, and is much loved by young readers world-wide for his contribution to children's literature with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and many other favorites. "The Best of Roald Dahl" proves that Dahl is also brilliant at writing short stories on a more adult level. He has a wicked imagination, and has the uncanny ability to stretch it beyond the borders of the normal, picturing ordinary details in a most vivid and elaborate manner. His brilliant imagination travels far and wide to places and events you have never imagined possible, and yet which are not fantastic but entirely believable because of his compelling realism. His realism is sometimes so compelling, that you are almost persuaded that Dahl is telling a true story, and are left wondering whether or not the story is fact or fiction - a remarkable accomplishment for a fiction writer!
Dahl's interest is sometimes dark and off-colour, and his constant fascination with the morbid and ugly makes this book suitable only for mature readers. I personally found his frequent use of blasphemy rather disturbing, as well has his occasional interest in sexual exploits (evident in three stories where he deals with matters such as prostitution, wife-swapping, and sexual conquest). Despite this, the majority of these stories are unquestionably spell-binding. Dahl's short stories have the capacity to leave you breathless because they are entirely unpredictable. He has a love for unhappy, even horrible endings that shock and surprise, yet are incredibly satisfying because they are unexpected. His incredible ability to describe an evil or horrible scheme in rich detail is so riveting, that you are completely caught up in its authenticity and excitement.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
It seems that most people know Dahl from his children's books, most notably those made into the popular movies Willy Wonka (Charlie) and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda. And if you know those books (or most likely movies), you've already gotten a taste of the deliciously wicked imagination contained within.
Well, hold on to your seats because you ain't seen nothin' yet!
This collection of 25 short stories (written for adults) spans his career up to 1986 and contains some of the most tantalizingly evil ideas I have read in a long time. What fun it was to visit this mind in all its incarnations. From a seemingly sweet landlady, to a seemingly benevolent preacher, to a seemingly innocuous wager. That is the pattern. Things are not what they seem and Dahl makes sure to throw in a one-two punch of surprises within.
To use a Hollywoodism, I would say this is like O. Henry crossed with Stephen King. So, if you like your short stories with pepper, you can do no better than to visit the twisted world of Roald Dahl.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought the first edition paperback in 1978 after my 6th grade teacher assigned The Way To Heaven as a class assignment. After reading her xerox copy I bought one of the first books I still keep in my shelves. It's yellowed and the cover is torn, but the stories are still as well written as ever.
These stories are appropriate for a mature teenage reader but I would recommend it to anyone interested in an enjoyable read. Spooky, understated, this is much less formula than Mr. King. Well worth the reread 20 years later. On the back of my copy, there is a blurb by the Washington Post which sums it up: "The mind of Roald Dahl is quintessentially nasty and wicked" Spot on.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By courtney J angermeier on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
But, if you liked Charlie as a kid, you may just have the twisted sense of humor it takes for Dahl's adult fiction. And I do mean adult. It's a human pheremone-toutin, spouse-swappin, hoppin into bed with an unknown leper sort of extravaganza not for the faint of heart. If you like your stories with sex and your sex with irony and your irony with extra spicy irony on top of that, you may have found your new favorite author.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Barakat on March 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
The infamous, the cantankerous, the grandiloquent, the absurd, the essential, the satisfying Roald Dahl is magnificent. His fame comes almost exclusively from his work as a children's author. Unbeknownst to most, he was a prominent short fiction writer for numerous magazines and publications. "The Best of Roald Dahl" is a collection of his short fiction spanning a large duration of his career rectifying him not as a child's author but simply as well-written author. This collection is unforgettable, and Dahl finds the youthful incendiary in all of us.

From "Pig," to "Madame Rosetta," to "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar," there are no lackluster tales. Although they have almost no commonality subjectively, his stories share a unique aesthetic, which makes them highly approachable and easy to understand - they often have what some might call an ethereal quality.

Stories like "Pig" may seem moralistically positive, but are often suggestive of the dark truth that is the real world. It's as though we are seeing our own negative world through the gentle eyes of Dahl who can only laugh. His dark humor is sometimes hilarious, but more than often grotesque. It will make you smile, it will make you sneer, and it may even make you vomit.
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