(P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
Saki is a favorite of mine, and I often turn to these familiar tales as I would to an old photograph album of times gone by.
There are a few dark, haunting tales such as "The Image of the Lost Soul" and "The Music on the Hill," but most of the stories here are light and funny. We are introduced to social-climbing hostesses, party-crashers, kleptomaniac relatives, aristocrats with amnesia, precocious children, reticent men in trying situations, scheming shopkeepers, and hapless travelers. All sparkle with originality and humor, and May and Davidson bring each one to life.
The author's prejudices against suffragettes, labor unions, and so forth, are evident. If this offends some, recall that these things are also a part of what makes Saki so very much a man of his time and social station. In short, there is no such thing as Edwardian "political correctness," however much we'd like to believe it was all "Downton Abbey."
Saki's death at the age of 45 while fighting in World War I cut short a brilliant writing career. I often wonder what he would have had to say about the dissolution of the society he knew so well...
The only thing I would change is that this collection is missing "The Interlopers," an eerie classic. Still, this is an extensive collection. I highly recommend it to all Saki fans as most other readings are quite short by comparison, and many are not performed half as well as those you'll hear here.
I would have given this 5 stars but for the fact that the memory of an old record from the public library I listened to as a child is hard to live up to. The narrators here are very good though. If you are not familiar with Saki writings - then this is an excellent collection for those who love the subtle wit and dry British humor that was his style (in order to appreciate it fully). Also included in this book are a few stories that were not meant to be comedic. He was a master of what he did and I enjoyed this audio very much.
A gross (more or less) of short stories ranging from very short to extremely short. Very few duds and almost all with a dry, slyly cynical, rapier-witted twist in the final sentence. Perfect for car listening and often laugh-out-loud funny. I often rewound to listen to the same story twice just to savor Saki's way with the Queen's English.
If you like insane humor delivered quietly and politely, then you'll love Saki. His twisted view of everyday life is as funny today as when it was written. Davidson and May give an excellent reading of these wonderful stories, it is unfortunate that they sound as if they were recorded on a Mr. Microphone in the trunk of a 1957 Buick on I-95 during rush hour. If you go for this, and you should, definitely get the best quality format your player can handle.
This is a great collection. Saki is always wonderful, and and these two readers perform perfectly. I would strongly consider audios by either of them. And if you are snickering to yourself on the train in a bad neighborhood, people will leave you alone.
Humor is a very personal thing. I remember once giving a collection of 'The Onion' articles to someone who later returned it to me with a puzzled expression. "That wasn't funny at all," she said. So, that said, if you don't think subversive, ironic, slightly sarcastic, Monty-Pythonesque, prim-people-stuck-in-very-unpleasant-situations, prim-people-who-don't-even-realize-they're-prigs, subtle, comedy of manners kind of situations funny, then you probably may not like Saki. Otherwise, this man is a genius.
Saki is a singular writer, not in style but in substance. His style is still with us, with fiction writers like Hammett, Vonnegut and Palahniuk.
In substance, he and Wodehouse share a lot in a very good way. They could be cousins, but one of them drinks a lot of absinthe.
The stupid part is that's it's a book of short stories, without a table of contents or
story titles in the app display.
Please tell me if it's there and I didn't see it. All 5 stars if had been or becomes formatted better.
It's quite frustrating to have a collection of short stories presented out of order and with no indication of which story titles are in which segment of the audiobook. It should have been very easy to give each story its own track.
Brilliant wit. Both readers do a good job, but their styles may not be to everyone's tastes. I recommend listening to a segment before purchasing.
I bought this audiobook because the review said it was "witty and urbane." There is humour that is so bad it becomes funny again, but this book's humour is so awful I was shocked. I don't mean "boo, bad pun" or dirty humour, I mean the humour was just not funny. It wasn't even interesting. I kept listening hoping it would improve. It didn't. Only buy this book as a horrifying example of bad literature.
"Saki Saki long time ..."
Wonderfully English in the traditional aristocratic sense. There are a lot of stories here and my only criticism would be that despite the wit and invention of them, there is little variation in the style and arc. It's a minor problem though.
"Lady Bracknell meets the Hound of the Baskervilles"
Imagine a drawing room in an Oscar Wilde play, with the atmosphere crackling with epigrams. And underneath that there is an untamed world of nature, amoral and cruel but liberated. That is the effect of Saki’s typical short stories. Anyone who enjoys The Importance of Being Ernest will enjoy the wit of Saki, although there is a quite distinctive character to his writing. Every word counts.
The stories are read alternately by a male and female reader. Their accents are highly mannered, which is completely appropriate for the material and its Edwardian upper class background (viewed highly ironically) but some may find this irritating. The author’s attitudes to trade unions and suffragettes are frankly reactionary, but this is apparent in only a few of the least typical stories.
They are very short and about six stories are included in each chapter of the audiobook.
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