Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl | 1990, Random House Vintage Books (book cover from http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/394689.Tales_of_the_Unexpected)

This afternoon’s thunderstorm caused intermittent brownouts in my office today, and soon enough it became a full-fledged brownout that lasted for an hour.  I was left with nothing to do while waiting for my brother to pick me up from work, so I finished reading Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors–he’s one of the many people whose work motivated me to write.

Tales of the Unexpected is the first ebook I’ve finished reading in my new smartphone. I used the app Aldiko, which is a pretty nice reading app. The only drawback is the limitation of features–there were so many passages I wanted to highlight but I couldn’t because I have to upgrade to the premium version of the app for that certain feature. iBooks is still the best reading app for me.

I immediately noted down my critique after swiping to the last page of the ebook through my phone’s Quick Notes app. I didn’t bother rewriting them here into a nice, coherent review anymore because I’m a colossal bag of lazy bones.

  1. The stories in this collection reminds me a lot of O. Henry’s.
  2. There’s no doubt about Dahl’s writing prowess.
  3. But it gets tiring to read too. Until now, I’ve never bothered to finish reading my collection of O. Henry stories because I know that I will be surprised in every story.
  4. First, a disclaimer: I haven’t read other reviews for this book. But it didn’t quite exceed my expectations. When an author decides to switch flavors–in this case, when a known children’s literature writer ventures into writing books for an older audience, it’s not always well-received. It reminds me of how people reacted to The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.
  5. But it’s weird that I immensely enjoyed The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, another short story collection by Dahl that is also for older readers. I first read it in grade school and if my memory serves me right, I borrowed it twice from my school’s library.
  6. The women in these stories are so kawawa (pitiful). The wives, especially. Take for example Louisa from “Edward the Conqueror,” the last story in the collection. She was trying to convince his husband, Edward, that getting this certain cat is the most exciting thing that has happened to her recently. And how did Edward react? By telling her to go make her dinner. Good grief.
  7. Some subjects and topics in the book are too… foreign for my taste. There was a story about an auction–see, I can’t recall the title! And it really, really, really bored me.
  8. My favorites from this bunch of stories are “Galloping Foxley,””Royal Jelly,” and “Nunc Dimittis.”

 

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