The Collected Short Stories of Saki Paperback
Part of the Wordsworth Classics series
`All decent people live beyond their incomes nowadays, and those who aren't respectable live beyond other people's'. Saki (H.H. Munro) stands alongside Anton Chekhov and O Henry as a master of the short story.
His extraordinary stories are a mixture of humorous satire, irony and the macabre, in which the stupidities and hypocrisy of conventional society are viciously pilloried.
This collection includes Sredni Vastor and The Unrest Cure. `We all know that Prime Ministers are wedded to the truth, but like other married couples they sometimes live apart'
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 512 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
- Publication Date: 05/09/1993
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781853260711
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by julsitos2
The guy is on the same level as that of Chekov and Maugham. Almost all of his stories are full of morbid wit and sarcasm that all other Edwardian tales (think: The Little Princess) seem too stiff and wooden. His style is akin to that of aristocratic English authors, but never a difficult read like that of Dickens. Highly Highly recommended!!
Review by figre
In the introduction to this book is included the statement, “Saki’s short stories of urbane malice are like a fine dessert wine – they should be sipped, and savoured slowly; so intense are they that to read them at one sitting may induce a kind of literary dyspepsia.” I could not agree more. I approached this collection in such a fashion and cannot imagine trying to quickly read through this collection. Each story is a gem, and should be admired and reflected upon similar to the way one approaches gems – looked at from every side in order to fully appreciate the beauty; because these are beautiful pieces and each will have its own resonance and attraction.Saki’s wry commentaries about life and subtle twists to bring them to conclusion are each a crafted work of art. Sure, not all are masterpieces. But, even when not quite hitting the mark, there is still enjoyment in watching the craftsman at work. And just about the time you think you have a handle on Saki’s humor, along comes a chilling story about werewolves, or a ghost story, or a collection about the war that shakes you from the comfortable satire evident in other pieces. It is easy to try and pigeonhole Saki’s work, but this full collection will help anyone broaden their understanding. Nowhere is this more evident than in the novels. Neither is what one would expect from Saki. While the wryness is still evident, neither has the lightheartedness the short stories bring forward. The first (The Unbearable Bassington) tells the tragedy of the British stiff upper lip in regards to a wayward son, and the second (When Willam Came) was an alternate history where Germany had taken over England. I will always retain the image from one of the later chapters where a displaced Englishwoman watches the Union Jack raised in a far away land. At first, I almost lowered the rating of this book because of the inclusion of these pieces. (Saki’s writing becomes a bit much in the short novel format), yet the skill was still there, the stories were still moving, and they have both haunted me after the reading. Whether just now discovering Saki or already a fan, this is the ultimate book. Collections of complete works often have weak points (no one can always get it right), but the weak points in this one excels the best of most other authors’ works.
Review by liehtzu
This is a really enjoyable collection of Victorian/Edwardian-era satire, the prose is wonderful and the humour bitingly apt for its time and culture. Think Oscar Wilde though not quite as adept. As window into a class system (as satirised by Wilde, by GBS -think Pygmalion, P.G. Wodehouse's – think Jeeves and Wooster) this is a witty eye-opener. There is something unfinished or under developed in some of the satires, as if the author got fed up half way through and having made his point couldn’t be bothered to polish it off; but don’t let that deter you. This will bring a wry smile to your lips – and what lovely English.