Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kiss Kiss

Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl (1959)

Each of the eleven stories making up this collection is more dark and strange than the last. A young man searching for lodgings is inexplicably drawn to a house with a suspiciously welcoming landlady. A widow is handed a letter from her recently-deceased husband suggesting that he may not be completely gone after all. An anxious woman whose husband has pushed her buttons too many times finally takes control of the situation. It doesn't do at all to try and describe these stories - I have to be deliberately vague because so many have surprise endings and I don't want to ruin them.

Some are dark in a creepy way, others just explore the more sly or greedy part of the characters' personalities (and they usually get their comeuppance.) Some contain elements of the supernatural, while others rely only on human nature to horrify. Dahl's style is clear, straightforward, and light but the content is none of those things. He provides just enough detail to set the stage and what he doesn't say is often just as important as what he does.

I wouldn't ever have know about this collection if it weren't for Simon Savidge's review. I've grown more interested in short stories recently and last week when I was looking for some, this was luckily available at my library. Our edition has this fantastic old-school cover that I just love. Every story in this collection was satisfying, and I positively burnt through it.

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