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The Best of Roald Dahl Paperback – July 14, 1990
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From the Inside Flap
"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
About the Author
When Roald Dahl said, "I am an old man full of metal," he wasn't kidding around. "The head of my femur (that's the large round bone of the hip joint) has been sawn off on both sides and a fearsome stainless-steel spike with a ball on top has been hammered into the hollow of my thighbone and glued into place."
"What on earth, you will ask, has all this got to do with writing books for children? Quite a lot and I'll tell you why. It turns the body into a rickety structure and a rickety structure is no good for climbing trees or going for long walks. It prefers to be sitting comfortably in an armchair with a writing board on the lap and the feet resting on a suitcase. Thus it encourages my work and the only work I know is writing books."
Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 and educated in English boarding schools from the age of nine until twenty. During World War II, he was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot in North Africa and Greece. When his active duty was completed, he was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was asked to write about some of his adventures. ""A Piece of Cake"," his first published work, was an account of a fighter plane crashing in Libya. His first piece of fiction was called ""The Gremlins"," a story about little creatures who make trouble for the Royal Air Force by drilling holes in the planes and wreaking general havoc.
Fifteen years later, Roald Dahl found himself telling bedtime stories to his children over and over again, and those were the basis for "James and the Giant Peach", his first published children's novel. After that came "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", to be followed by many others, including "The BFG, The Witches", and "Matilda".
Every book of Roald Dahl's was written in a little brick hut in the apple orchard about two hundred yards away from his home. He wrote them all in pencil ("I never could type"), sometimes with an old sleeping bag wrapped around him, since there was only a paraffin stove to heat the drafty hut. "When I am up here," he said, "I see only the paper I am writing on, and my mind is far away with Willy Wonka or James or Mr. Fox or Danny or whatever else I am trying to cook up. The room itself is of no consequence. It is out of focus, a place for dreaming and floating and whistling in the wind."
Things that Roald Dahl wrote about himself:
I have a passion for paintings and have collected them for many years.
I make good orange marmalade.
I breed orchids and am a keen gardener.
I eat lots of chocolate.
The only dish I have never eaten is tripe.
Beethoven is wonderful.
Pop singers are horrible.
I would like to have been a good doctor.
I have had eight major operations, three on the hips, five on the spine, and countless smaller ones.
Kindness is more important than piety.
I wish my dog could talk to me.
More can be learned about Roald Dahl in his autobiographical "Boy: Tales of Childhood and Going Solo", as well as in the chapter called "Lucky Break" in "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More". Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of seventy-four. Although the world lost one of its most beloved authors, what he has left behind is a rich library of wonderful tales for children of today and tomorrow to discover and enjoy.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent collection from a master writer of the creepy and funny. I liked his "Champion of the World" when I was young, and it's in this collection. Read morePublished 17 days ago by MarthaP
My mom loves this book and told me that I had to read it. I bought this book thinking it was going to be something that is was not. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Always summer
definitely the best of Roald Dahl. Unexpected twists with dark humor and incredibly dynamic characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by csokilany
I had only read Mr. Dahl's children's books, and was pleasantly surprised at the depth of his adult works. Read morePublished 9 months ago by BeastieJay
Ronald Dahl is my most favorite author ever - his writing is fabulous. This isn't one my favorite adult books of his but still a great read.
I aspire to write like him!!
Excellent stories! The collection of stories that was written by Mr. Dahl himself show the author in a different light. Pure genius mixed into twisted and somewhat crude humor. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mynonna