Wednesday 13 September 2017

Review ~ Dark and Twisted Tales for Grown Ups by Roald Dahl



What makes us innocent and how do we come to lose it? Featuring the autobiographical stories telling of Roald Dahl's boyhood and youth as well as four further tales of innocence betrayed, Dahl touches on the joys and horrors of growing up.

Among other stories, you'll read about the wager that destroys a girl's faith in her father, the landlady who has plans for her unsuspecting young guest and the commuter who is horrified to discover that a fellow passenger once bullied him at school.

Featuring extraordinary cover art by Charming Baker, whose paintings echo the dark and twisted world of Dahl's short stories.


How underhand could you be to get what you want? In these ten tales of dark and twisted trickery Roald Dahl reveals that we are at our smartest and most cunning when we set out to deceive others - and, sometimes, even ourselves.

Here, among others, you'll read of the married couple and the parting gift which rocks their marriage, the light fingered hitch-hiker and the grateful motorist, and discover why the serious poacher keeps a few sleeping pills in his arsenal.

Featuring extraordinary cover art by Charming Baker, whose paintings echo the dark and twisted world of Dahl's short stories.

My thoughts...

I read both of these books back to back and whilst there are similarities in the tone of Roald Dahl's impeccable writing, both books are deliciously different.

Innocence features autobiographical stories in Boy which tells of Dahl's own childhood and of the relationship he had with his family. There are also tantalising glimpses of the burgeoning writer in various references to those seeds of ideas which would germinate in later years and become stories we recognise.

There are four other short stories in this book which Dahl had published in various publications. All reiterate the theme of Innocence :

Taste in The New Yorker in 1951
Galloping Foxley in Town & Country in 1953
The Landlady in The New Yorker in 1959
Lucky Break  in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar in 1977

Trickery contains ten cleverly contrived stories which tell of cunning and deceit and carry all the characteristic trademarks of this wonderfully inventive author. Stories which twist and turn with delicious dark humour, these ten stories are a perfect size to read in half an hour or so, but the impact remains much longer.

Roald Dahl, the brilliant and worldwide acclaimed author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and many more classics for children, also wrote scores of short stories for adults. These delightfully disturbing tales present a side of Dahl that few have seen before; this stunning collection is most certainly a darker side of Dahl.

Charming Baker has had a string of international sell-out shows. His fans include Damien Hirst, British collector Frank Cohen, gallerist Harry Blain and New York dealer Alberto Mugrabi. His juxtaposition of nostalgia with sex and death is grown-up and playful, his works simultaneously beautiful and intentionally bothersome. His work has been described as ‘a kind of romantic melancholy that is very British. And sometimes the melancholy turns out to have sharp claws.’ The pictures make you sit up and examine your conscience.’ Theses sensibilities could equally be describing Roald Dahl’s approach to his domestically dark adult short stories, making Charming and Roald Dahl the perfect collaborators for these new collections.

Roald Dahl reveals more about the darker side of human nature in eight centenary editions 

Lust, Madness, Cruelty, Deception, War, Trickery, Innocence and Fear

More about the author can be found by clicking here

Twitter #RoaldDahl100

My thanks to Sam at Penguin for my review copies of Innocence and Trickery



  1. Loving the new look Josie, it has been a long time since I read Roald Dahl, maybe time to reacqauint xxx


  2. Thanks, Lainy. Glad you like the 'new' look. I haven't told Jaffa yet that his orange theme has disappeared. Maybe he'll not notice!!


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