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Tales Of The Unexpected (1990)

Tales of the Unexpected (1990)
4.16 of 5 Votes: 4
0679729895 (ISBN13: 9780679729891)
random house vintage books
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Tales Of The Unexpected (1990)
Tales Of The Unexpected (1990)

About book: I will rate each story on it's own merit and then come back and give an overall review on the book as a whole.I want to give this book 4 stars,but 3 seems more acurate. I wish this was done on a scale of 1-10 and this would likely be a 7 or 7. I love short stories, and this was a very fun and nice diversion. If you are between books or like short stories, and like to indulge in just one or two from time to time this is a nice book to have on hand. I usually prefer darker and more suspensful type short storie, but again this was a very nice change-up!1. TASTE- 2-3 stars- A nice story, a bit farfetched as the the main premise. Many times I come across a short story that I like, but the ending lets me down..this falls into that category.2. Lamb to the Slaughter-2-3 stars- This story needs my mind to grasp that it was written in a different era. A nice story, that the forensics of today would likely make irrelevant. 3. Man from the South- 3 stars- A major similarity to story 1, seems a bit repitive in theme to include so close to each other and even in the same collection? Slightly better for than the first one, but I don't want to hear "Wanna make a bet" again!!!4. My Lady Love, My Dove- 4 stars- A very nice read. I enjoyed how the influence of one (in 2 seperate couples), has major implications in the life of the other.5. Dip in the pool- 3-4 stars- A fun read, a desperate man hatches a devious if not brilliant plan...if it works his dreams will come true...if not????6. Galloping Foxley- 4 stars- Anyone who has been a bully or bullied should read this. 7. Skin- 4 stars- A delightful dilemma.8. Neck- 4 stars- Sometimes I hate a short story that leaves you hanging at the end..sometimes I love it, and this was one of those times. A cuckold husband, with a tough choice to make. 9. Nunc Dimittis- 4 stars- wounded pride, jilted love and revenge upon revenge...Nothing to dark, but just sinister enough to keep it edgy!10. The Landlady- 4 stars- The empty ending allows the story go in a few directions...Mine was a mini Psycho!11. William & mary- 2 stars- this was probably well advanced at the time it was it is is what still a nice story. I just couldn't get excited about the character, their dilemia or their choice.12. The Way Up to heaven- 3 stars- Another cute story. A domineering husband, a submissive wife and the twist at the end was very enjoyable!13. Parsons pleasure-3 stars- The ending was very lacking. A creative and decietful buisiness man, with a plot that I was sinking my teeth into. TThe story in itself was very worthwhile, but the ending left me wanting a whole lot more.14. Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Cat- 3-4 stars- What a great little story, of lust, deception, betrayal and revenge. the ending was wonderful as well!15. Royal Jelly- 2 stars- Not great, but a decent little story. A shame even though farfetched it seemed to me to have better possibilities.16. Edward the Conqueror- 2 stars- The premise did not really appeal to me. Not being a believer in reincarnation anyway, but the story just never really gripped me.17. The Sound machine- 2-3 stars- 3 stars seems a bit high, but it was better than the last 2 and they only recieved 2, so there you go. A nice storyline, and a demented protaginist.18- Georgy Porgy- a generous 1 star- Alrighty then...19. The Hitchhiker- 3 stars- A quick story, not sure what else to say without giving hints.20. poison- 2 stars- A good idea to start with, but never saeemed to get enough momentum. it could have gone in a different ending direction for me as well.21. The boy who talked to animals- 4 stars- This is likely not the best story in the book...but it struck a cord with me, and I just loved it.22. The Umbrella man- 4 stars- A very quick and creative read. A very ingenius man, develops a brilliant scheme.23. genisis and Catastrophe- 1 star- Alrighty then24. The Buttler- 4 stars- Aint it about time that the rich get the short end of the stick. I’m not usually the biggest fan of short stories, there are always exceptions. And of course I was going to make one for Roald Dahl’s collection of short stories for adults – Tales of the Unexpected. Not only did they retain my interest that most short stories fail to do, but they also were sufficiently sinister and creepy to leave me with a tingling, ‘gooly’ feeling afterwards.All of us who have read a single book in our lives have heard of Roald Dahl, beloved by children around the world. His children’s classics, particularly Matilda, The Witches and The BFG are heart-warming stories, all the more so when you learn that they frequently originated as bedtime stories for his children. Yet, even though they had lovely moral stories, and a fair dose of humour, they were also just a tad bit creepy. After reading Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and The Witches, you might think that ol’ Roald was a bit misogynistic. Not to mention that a headmistress that locks her students up in ‘the chokey’ is a bit more evil than the usual teacher-figure in children’s books.Well. After reading Tales of the Unexpected, it is clear that while he was brilliant, Roald Dahl was a little bit evil. Which honestly, just makes him all that more fabulous. Each short story in Tales of the Unexpected, some fantastic, others highly realistic, had a sinister undertone throughout, something that as a reader I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but still made me feel a bit icky. While some were obvious, such as the man who wanted to chop off other people’s fingers as a bet, or the derelict whose skin was covered with the most valuable tattoo in the world, others not so much. However, what is so wonderful (yet creepy) were the twists in each of them.While some endings were less of a surprise, this didn’t have the effect of lessening the story – rather the opposite in fact. Parson’s Pleasure, a story about a greedy antique collector who finds the ultimate prize, has a crescendo of foreboding that eventually leads to the heart-breaking ending; while I could foresee that something terrible was going to happen, I wasn’t 100% certain what. Or Mrs Bixby and The Colonel’s Coat: you know that Mrs Bixby is going to get done, yet you’re unsure how exactly it will occur. Tantalising stuff.Aside from his marvellous storytelling, Roald Dahl is remarkable for his ability to change so completely from ‘beloved children’s author’ to ‘adult writer with a penchant for black humour’. It is a feat that not many authors have accomplished. While there are similarities between the two (in particular a love for a moral undertone), Dahl’s ability to create adult stories that are so absorbing, so sinister and so wicked is nothing short of wonderful.Not to mention that without mentioning anything gruesome whatsoever, no blood or guts or screams, Dahl creates a series of short stories that are perhaps more stomach-turning than any horror book I’ve read recently. Perhaps take note, Bret Easton Ellis.If you’re a fan of short stories, or perhaps even just a fan of the lovely Roald Dahl, then I wholeheartedly recommend Tales of the Unexpected. However, I don’t necessarily recommend reading them while partaking in lunch, and if you’ve recently had a fight with your spouse and you’re seeing red, then perhaps avoid Lamb to the Slaughter.
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This collection contains 16 stories, all of which live up to the billing of the title. In some cases the "unexpected" is "unexpectedly short", but Dahl probably knew what he was doing when ending them where he did. He covers a wide range of subjects here: disembodied brains, machines that allow us to hear ultra-high-frequency sounds, wine snobs, tattoo artists, and possibly the perfect crime. He is equally adept at writing about complicated mechanical devices and medical procedures as he is at capturing the essence of the perfect routine commute.My personal favourites were "William and Mary", "The Way up to Heaven", "The Hitchhiker," and "The Boy Who Talked to Animals". I had previously read the latter two in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, but it was a delight to read them again. "The Boy Who Talked to Animals" actually made me tear up a little bit on the bus (embarrassing). And in "The Way up to Heaven", the husband's perpetual lateness had me just as upset as his wife, who always strove to be punctual. I actually had to flip past some of it because I was so upset with him. I don't like being late for things either. This collection also includes the classic story "Lamb to the Slaughter", which I read in high school English but did not realize was ROALD! FREAKIN'! DAHL! until much later.I would gladly recommend this collection to grownup fans of Dahl and those who like a lot of variety in their short stories -- if you don't like the subject matter of one story, wait five minutes and another topic will be along shortly.
This collection of short stories showcases a much darker and more sinister side of Roald Dahl than his previous works of children’s fiction. In sixteen short stories the reader is both enthralled and appalled at the depths to which some of the characters sink to when placed in various predicaments. Who could forget the chilling tale of the landlady who taxidermies her guests, or the housewife who kills her husband with a leg of lamb and then serves the lamb to the investigating police officers.This book is an absolute pleasure to read due to the fabulous writing and narrative skills of Mr Dahl. I look forward to discovering more of his adult stories.
Virginia Agnew
I read this anthology when I was in grade school. We had a little library in our parish school classroom which I thought was brilliant. It was mostly filled with Sweet Valley High novels, so this book really stood out. None of the other students read it, but then they weren't as nerdy as I was with my watching Dr.Who and Blake's 7 every weekend on PBS. I kind of miss that kind of ostracism. When adults ostracize one another, it's far more wicked, especially among women. Sigh. Returning to this book for the Halloween season was a real joy, though it took a bit of effort to track down a clean copy. Dahl is so beloved for his seemingly children's novels, that these Poe-meets-Cheever-and-O.Henry-on-a-rambling-Cotswalds-path stories are a bit overlooked. I was excited to re-read the showstopper classics like "William and Mary," "Royal Jelly," and "The Sound Machine." I still remember the chill I experienced reading these for the first time as a kid. I also adored "Galloping Foxley" which a lot of folks might relate to in a quiet way, and "Neck" which is full of quintessentially British repressed rage. Maybe I'll try to track down the follow-up volume, More Tales of the Unexpected.
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