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Tales of the Unexpected Paperback – 22 Feb 1979


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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, London; 1st Penguin Edition edition (22 Feb. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140051317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140051315
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The son of Norwegian parents, Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 and educated at Repton. He was a fighter pilot for the RAF during World War Two, and it was while writing about his experiences during this time that he started his career as an author.

His fabulously popular children's books are read by children all over the world. Some of his better-known works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches, and The BFG.

He died in November 1990.

Product Description

About the Author

From the publication of James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the 1960s to his death in 1990, Roald Dahl became the most successful children’s author in the world. Nearly twenty years later, a fresh generation of children seek out his work with instinctive fanaticism. His creations endure - through Hollywood movies, theatre adaptations and musical works, but still most potently of all through the pure magic of his writing upon the page.

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First Sentence
There were six of us to dinner that night at Mike Schofield's house in London: Mike and his wife and daughter, my wife and I, and a man called Richard Pratt. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By rmllewellyn@lineone.net on 16 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
What a special writer Roald Dahl is. In this collection of short stories we see his full range of rampant storytelling,gloriously macabre humour,and totally unpredictable twists. Check out the father who feeds his son Royal Jelly with ominous results,or the cruise passenger who jumps overboard to win a bet. See a man`s schooldays return to haunt him in GALLOPING FOXLEY,and a scheming wife`s shock in MRS BIXBY AND THE COLONAL`S COAT. All these and more ,told with style and glee,perfectly weighted to keep you hooked until the bitter end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Wood on 9 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Blimey, That was Unexpected!

A silly little review of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected

I grew up on Roald Dahl. With food, drink and oxygen I also had a brief flirtation, but the stories of Roald Dahl were my true love. I marvelled at the fantastic effects of George's marvellous medicine, cheered for the fantastic Mr. Fox, and got a bit unnerved by The Witches (although this was owing more to the protagonist's creepy grandmother than the villains of the story).

Imagine my delight, then, upon receiving Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected as a birthday present. A two-hundred and eighty-ish page collection of charming short fiction from one of my favourite writers of all time! I assumed.

And I assumed correctly. The fiction is both short and charming (and, by some immense stroke of luck, it seemed, I had even guessed the number of pages correctly). While the witches and chocolate factories are non-existent, the masterful prose and unique, interesting characters are in abundance. Highlights include Taste, if only because it gives a - dare I say it - first taste of what's to follow, Lamb To The Slaughter, which includes the curiously homicidal Mary Maloney, Galloping Foxley, for the masterful use of a somewhat minimalistic plot to create such an intriguing story, Parson's Pleasure, for an ending left in so many ways to the reader's imagination and Royal Jelly, for being everything one can hope for in a Dahl story.

The flaws are few and far between. Some of the endings hover slightly too far on the ambiguous side, while some are perhaps made too obvious (such as Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat). Others perhaps feel a little anti-climactic (Edward the Conqueror, or maybe I'm missing something with that one).

This book is a very fine collection of short stories. Each story is a little gem, each one the product of an ingenious imagination.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Celia B on 7 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of Roald Dahl's finest works in adult fiction, so popular that it had its own TV series spanning 9 years.The book contains short stories selected from his other books "Kiss Kiss" and "Someone like you". I would categorise this book somewhere between suspense/black humour and thriller.

I found each story amusing with its dark, sinister humour and sometimes disturbing ending especially "The Landlady"! There are tales of revenge and nasty characters getting their comeuppance so in some respects not unlike "Charlie and the chocolate factory" or "James and the giant peach" but this is definitely not a book for children. Each story kept me in suspense and kept me reading until the very last word.

As an aside, I believe that the book is better at retaining the ambiguity and mystery of the ending of the storie. There are a few television episodes however that deviate slightly from the book and left you in no doubt about the fate of the key characters of the stories. Compare "The Landlady" and "Galloping Foxley" to the book.

Ideal for pre bed time reading or short commutes. If you like suspense and light hearted stories with dark wit then this is the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Simons on 24 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is very clever in the sense that Roald Dahl has managed to combine comedy ; horror ; murder and a whole host of other factors all into one book.
Definately a book that will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end.
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By fletcher on 3 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The condition of the book was described as Used - Good however in my opinion when pages are falling out then it isn't in a good condition. The first 55 pages are half hanging onto the spine. The only bonus was that I gained a free bookmarker and a Waitrose receipt from 2001.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book to read in snippets. I couldn't predict a lot of the twists but had great fun trying to guess!
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