- Paperback: 364 pages
- Publisher: Digireads.com (1 Jan. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1420938312
- ISBN-13: 978-1420938319
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Complete Short Stories of Saki (H. H. Munro) Paperback – 1 Jan 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
In a way these stories could only have come out of the years between Oscar Wilde and Armistice Day. Yet at the same time they are startlingly modern in their shamelessness, their bitter edge and casual violence. Some exhibit a languid, delicious disregard for political correctness (whether of his time or of today). Others ruthless pounce on rarely-admitted psychological truths. Some are just wonderfully, gloriously funny.
Well-known among the tales are "Tobermory", in which a visiting professor teaches the household cat to talk, with unforeseen results (well, unforeseen for the assembled houseparty), and "Sredni Vashtar" in which a downtrodden small boy wreaks a terrible revenge on the aunts who oppress him (this isn't a spoiler, I've left the "gist" unsaid). In these two tales we get a glimpse of Munro himself - the knowing, observant, painfully sensitive child watching the adult world like a visiting Martian, blind to social conventions and excruciatingly alive to hypocrisy and cant.
There is nothing vulgar, nothing obvious, no shooting at sitting ducks, no social concern masquerading as satire, here. Even the weakest stories are sharper, more beautifully turned, more acutely amoral, than anything written by anyone else. For many years Saki remained a minority interest, too scandalous, too irresponsible, to be recommended for general reading. During this time he was widely forgotten. The world today, after a century or so, is finally ready for him.Read more ›
Most are very short so an ideal read in a busy life schedule. I have recommended Saki to many of my friends over the years and no one has ever been disappointed.
Although Saki mocked the snobbery and hypocrisy of upper class Edwardian England, he himself seems to have been limited by unexamined prejudice against the lower classes, women in general, and new social movements of his day like female suffrage and socialism.
Organised by date of collection, the tales show a clear progression. The early "Reginald" stories are remarkably short, often barely a page, very dated and a bit too precious in style for my taste. As the years pass, the stories gain in length and depth, culminating in works like "The Square Egg". This captures the muddiness of trench life in World War 1 - the streaming mud walls, the inches of soup-like mud at the entrance to the dug-out, the muddy biscuits eaten with mud-caked fingers. This story also shows Saki's talent for going off at an imaginative tangent, in this case based on a wily Frenchman's novel idea for using the idea of "square eggs" from specially bred hens to try to get some money out of the narrator.Read more ›
Ideal for the Kindle as the stories are short enough for waiting rooms.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These clever cynical stories are full of surprises. This is a book I've enjoyed many times and never tire of.Published 14 months ago by Elisabeth :)
I should perhaps have added to my summary the words 'My fault really'. I thought I was ordering another book, one that I had read at school, written in a 'cod' Chinese or pigeon... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mr. J. A. Bush
One of the best collection of short stories I've come across. Why is it not more popular? Roald Dahl plus....Published on 21 Sept. 2013 by Graham Dartnall
I have always enjoyed short stories, and Saki is one of the best writers on these. I was very happy to find this version for my Kindle. Read morePublished on 6 Mar. 2012 by Mr Oliver Wells