I am going to sound like a complete heathen.
This is the first work by Roald Dahl that I have read.
I know Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inside and out through the glory that is cinema. Willie Wonka as Gene Wilder, viewed every Christmas in the usual programming line-up. But never the book. Nor any of the other classics:
James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of their existence, I have just never been interested enough to pick any of them to read. I think that might change now.
This set of four short stories is for adults. It was on the returns shelf the last time I was in the library and I thought it was well past due that I try out Mr Dahl. It was short stories, so I thought an easy starting point.
The theme of the stories is seduction and suspense.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, these were originally written for Playboy back in 1965 and collected together in this form in 1974.
I found each of the stories very easy to read, although by the time I was reading Bitch I was pretty much over the theme. The endings to both The Visitor and The Great Switcheroo appealed to my sense of righteousness while Bitch was easy to see coming. With The Last Act however, I found the end to be quite disturbing and unpleasant. The other three stories contained seeds of humour while this one did not.
It was dark to the point of making me feel appalled and nauseous at the actions of one of the characters.
What I did take away from reading this slim volume was the idea that maybe I really should make the effort with his children’s books. If I don’t I may be depriving my children of some well written works that they will come to love.
I’m not sure that I will seek out any of his adult works for some time though. The Last Act has left something of a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.