Roald Dahl’s short stories – Madness, Cruelty, Lust, Deception

In celebration of his centenary in 2016, Penguin released 8 titles in the Roald Dahl short story collection. War, Trickery, Fear and Innocence  were published in the first titles, Lust, Deception, Cruelty and Madness were published on 25 August 2016. Each book in the series features cover artwork by Charming Baker.

When I received these four beautiful looking collections of short stories I didn’t know where to start first. So instead of sitting procrastinating for a while I thought I’d read one story from each and see which one appealed the most.

I read Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life from Lust, the tale of a farmer who knows how to predict the gender of his calves, I cheated slightly with the next story as I had already read The Landlady from Madness, the story is also included in Trickery. In Cruelty I read The Butler, a clever tale of how the servants of an obnoxious man get their revenge in a brilliantly sneaky way.  I devoured Lamb to the Slaughter from Deception, a brilliantly executed story of a wife who dispatches her husband, and the evidence of his murder in a cunning and amusing way.

I’ve not decided which of the collection to carry on with. Each one offers a tempting array of short stories to indulge in. Of the four stories I read my favourites were Lamb to Slaughter and The Butler. Each shows a skillful turn of phrase, they are shining examples of the story-telling flair and brilliance Roald Dahl possessed.

I’m looking forward to reading more of these short stories, which include The Hitch-hiker, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Vengeance is Mine Inc. Now I just need to decide which one to read first.

About the books

Lust – Tales of Craving and Desire

To what lengths would you go to achieve your heart’s desire? In these ten tales of maddening lust Roald Dahl explores how our darkest impulses reveal who we really are.

Madness – Tales of Fear and Unreason

Our greatest fear is of losing control – above all, of losing control of ourselves. In these ten unsettling tales of unexpected madness Roald Dahl explores what happens when we let go of our sanity.

Deception – Tales of Intrigue and Lies

Why do we lie? Why do we deceive those we love most? What do we fear revealing? In these ten tales of deception Roald Dahl explores our tireless efforts to hide the truth about ourselves.

Cruelty – Tales of Malice and Greed

Even when we mean to be kind we can sometimes be cruel. We each have a streak of nastiness inside us. In these ten tales of cruelty Roald Dahl explores how and why it is we make others suffer

About the author

Roald Dahl was a spy, ace fighter-pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more brilliant stories. He remains the World’s No.1 storyteller.

One Comment Add yours

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    He really was a great storyteller, even if perhaps some of the cruelty he detected in others he actually found in himself.


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