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The Complete Saki (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) Paperback – May 1, 1998
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
His protagonists - not really heroes - are typically youthful scapegraces, idlers, and dandies. Self-absorbed and perverse, they may come to bad ends, like Comus Bassington. Despite, or perhaps because, of their character defects, they make gorgeous epigrammatic observations, worldly beyond their years, on human nature: "You needn't tell me that a man who doesn't love oysters and asparagus and good wine has got a soul, or a stomach either. He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed." "People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity; the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die." "Waldo is the sort of person who would be immensely improved by death."
Saki is politically incorrect. Like W.S. Gilbert, he lampooned suffragettes; this has led some to call him "misogynistic." His Jewish characters are not always portrayed in a flattering light; this has led some to call him "anti-Semitic." Earnest folk full of impractical good intentions for the uplift of humanity got the fullest dose of his venom. In "The Toys of Peace," children brought up by insufferably and sanctimoniously progressive parents who refuse to give them "warlike" playthings nonetheless improvise violent and destructive games. In "Filboid Studge" he describes a "health food" fad that succeeds wildly on the assumption that if it tastes disgusting, it must be good for you. Saki would have revelled in the gruesome irony of a recent news account about an "animal rights" protestor mauled at Yellowstone by a grizzly.Read more ›
Saki, in his own way, was a pioneer.
I heard these stories while I was growing up, as one parent or the other was reading them. You keep finding delightful lines that you want to read out to anyone in the same room.
Like one of his characters, Saki can "say horrible things in a matter-of-fact way, and matter-of-fact things in a horrible way." His descriptions of Edwardian England are hilarious, and he is at his best when describing a child or young man who sees through, and punctures all the stuffiness with wit:
"After all," said the Duchess, "there are certain things you can't get away from. Right and wrong, good conduct and moral rectitude, have certain well-defined limits." "So, for the matter of that," replied Reginald, "has the Russian Empire. The trouble is that the limits are not always in the same place."
"Of course," she resumed combatively, "it's the prevailing fashion to believe in perpetual change and mutability, and all that sort of thing, and to say that we are all merely an improved form of primeval ape -- of course you subscribe to that doctrine?" "I think it decidedly premature; in most people I know the process is far from complete."
In "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope", the gossipers are hilariously mistaken about his secret - which you will not guess. When Laura defends her husband, she is told, "That's different -- you've sworn to love, honour, and endure him. I haven't." The predicament of the Lost Sanjak, once it's pointed out to you, will seem dreadfully possible.
You will laugh out loud; you will re-read your favorite lines, and you will wear out this book. I'm on my third copy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I finally caved and bought this after reading a hand full of assorted Saki short stories in anthologies, or listening to them on free podcasts. Read morePublished 2 months ago by David
A must have for any Saki fan. The wit of Mr. Munro is unrivaled.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Funny short stories, don't like his novels (or novellas) as muchPublished 11 months ago by Daniel R. Wiegand
Saki (H.H. Munro) is probably not for everyone. I've enjoyed his writing since my early teens and bought this edition as a replacement for an extremely well worn and much loved,... Read morePublished 13 months ago by A. Wald