Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Reflections: Collected Stories of Roald Dahl

Most of us in India grew up reading Roald Dahl's stories - either in our English classes, or from the dozens of collections littered in Indian libraries. The wit, sarcasm, humor and oddity of his tales stand apart. Over the years, my memory had dimmed out most of the stories. But thanks to my friend, who truly pampers me, I was gifted with this wonderful book containing most of Dahl's notable short stories.

Every story is uniquely crafted with Dahl's legendary stamp. I'm quite amazed at Dahl's breadth of knowledge - ranging from science to history to culture to psychology to philosophy. I especially enjoyed his stories with a science-fiction tinge to them - The story about a man who invents an automatic story-churning machine, a man so passionate about bees and apiculture that he finds an intriguing cure for his anorexic infant baby, the impish scientist who decides to rekindle man's ability to pick up on subtle female scents to turn him into a sex-charged caveman etc. The stories were down right hilarious, novel and informative, taking on the most perplexing and morbid twists and turns towards the end. Each story captures an eccentric human trait. Some stories, such as those concerning wars, were delicately philosophical and very sensitively portrayed.

Dahl's writing needs no more praise from me. His prose his impeccable and draws the reader completely into the characters and the setting. Establishing this sense of connection with the characters through just a short story is testament to his talent as a writer.

The whole chunk of the book is tireless entertainment and enjoyment. The book is surely a treasured possession.

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