Skin and Other Stories
I’m really only familiar with stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. They’re certainly fantastical stories with a number of fairly subtle dark twists to them, but still well within the realm of children’s stories.
Well… it turns out he wrote some more adult, much more tense ones at all. It’s somewhere in that border realm between realism, fantasy, and horror, not quite terrifying but certainly creepy.
The stories are quick and always have the creepy sort of twist, although I’ll admit there were a few I just don’t really get. So it goes. Still worth it, in my opinion.
Reviews of each story, minimal - no spoilers:
It’s no skin off my back…
The story of a drunken night, a younger man’s first tattooing, and an older man’s memories.
Not a surprising ending, but still a sufficiently creepy one.
Lamb to the Slaughter
… well that escalated quickly.
The story of a pregnant woman, her husband tired from work… and murder most foul.
The Sound Machine
If a tree falls all alone in the forest, can anyone hear its scream?
Dahl really does have a way with descriptions:
The interior of the shed was an unpainted room. Against one wall, on the left, there was a long wooden workbench, and on it, among a littering of wires and batteries and small sharp tools, there stood a black box about three feet long, the shape of a child’s coffin.
An African Story
What do misophonia, a cow, and a great black Mamba have in common?
Getting an almost visceral second hand reaction to the written version of the spoken description of the sounds. Joy.
The story of a contented commuter.
I like also my corner seat by the window and reading The Times to the noise and motion of the train. This part of it lasts thirty-two minutes and it seems to soothe both my brain and my fretful old body like a good long massage. Believe me, there’s nothing like routine and regularity for preserving one’s peace of mind.
It’s been years, but I do remember and occasionally miss that aspect of it.
And I so get the torture of old memories likely forgotten by most.
But this, I’m not sure about the ending?
The floor is lava. And snakes.
An improbable story of a surgeon, a prince, a diamond, and an unlucky robber.
It feels somehow incomplete.
Dip in the Pool
Don’t gamble what you can’t afford to lose…
The Champion of the World
It’s all in the raisins. Also poachers’ arse. Also also… why didn’t they finish the job?
Beware of the Dog
Just enough slightly off to feel creepy, but I feel again like I’m missing some important bit of context for the ending.
My Lady Love, My Dove
Don’t go listening, you might not like what you hear. Or you might like it too much? Weird family dynamics.