Stephen writes "Saki remains, from a distance of a hundred years, just about the sharpest, cruellest, funniest and most elegant short story writer in our language. Hector Hugh Monro, to give him his real name, was an English writer and journalist whose life was cut short by the Great War. His stories often oppose nature and civilisation, with the more macabre elements of nature usually rising to victory. My favourite of his stories is Sredni Vashtar, as perfect a symbolic tale of the power of adolescence as is imaginable. The triumph of imagination, sexuality and life over the repressive forces of conventionality has never been more perfectly or shockingly expressed. The excellence of Tobermory, the talking cat, of The unrest Cure and the Open Window all reveal that unique blend of Wodehousian social comedy with wicked cruelty.
Saki is like a perfect martini but with absinthe stirred in...heady, delicious and dangerous. Enjoy". Stephen Fry 2009.
©2009 SamFry Limited; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
There are five stories in this collection: the delightful and subtle Mrs. Packletide's Tiger; the very dark Sredni Vashtar -- be warned;The Peace of Mowsle Barton; the radical and in these days non-PC story The Unrest-Cure, which is, however, extremely funny once you stop gasping with shock; and Tobermory, a story of a cat that learns to talk, causing immediate consternation among the house-party of guests near whose bedroom windows he has been walking freely.
Stephen Fry's reading is of course perfect: it was obvious on sight of the offering that he would be a wonderful Saki reader, as the wry, sophisticated, ironic tone is common to both Saki and Fry. I wish Stephen Fry would do more recordings of dedicated Saki collections.
I bought this solely due to the fact Stephen Fry was reading it, and that I had bought the Anton Chekhov and Oscar Wilde books in the same series. Like the other two authors, I have never read anything by this author before and so did not know what to expect.
The book is worth getting for the story about the Open Window. I found that a great read and found myself laughing in car.
In the main the stories are witty at times, and like the other books in the series provide a good insight into the style and creativity of the author.
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