BooksOfTheMoon

Trickery

By Roald Dahl

Rating: 3 stars

This collection is part of a themed series put out by Penguin to showcase Dahl’s adult short fiction. The clue to the theme is in the title, with trickery and deceit being the order of the day. Some of the stories fit the theme by a thread (such as the first story, The Wish about a boy who imagines his carpet to be full of monsters), but most are good fits. I hadn’t known that one of my favourite Dahl books as a youngster, Danny, the Champion of the World, was based on a short story, but it was, and it’s in this collection. The plot is much the same (but with adult protagonists) but with fewer words, there’s less space for characterisation.

The longest story in the collection is one of Dahl’s ‘Uncle Oswald’ stories, and it’s nice to see the licentious old man get the wool pulled over his eyes. Other highlights for me included The Surgeon about a surgeon who is given an astounding gift; and Beware of the Dog about an RAF pilot who comes down and finds himself in hospital.

While some of these have lost their sting over the years, many others still retain their bite and sense of “oof” that comes with the twist. It’s a fun collection, if quite short, and a decent introduction to Dahl’s adult short fiction.

Book details

ISBN: 9781405933230
Publisher: Penguin
Year of publication: 2017

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