Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl

Thanks to Nonanon, who recommend this wonderful book about a month ago.

Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl is like a case full of boxes of Cracker Jacks. There are lots of surprises inside - at least one in every story. As a reader, I never knew what was going to happen next, nor how the story would end. As a reviewer, I don't want to give those surprises away. I'll just say that they are sometimes darkly amusing, sometimes horrible or even shocking. If you're the kind of reader who likes Edgar Allan Poe or watching Arsenic and Old Lace, you'll definitely want to finish every one of these stories.

As readers of his memoirs or his children's books knows, Dahl wastes no words. There is an economy to his storytelling, and he chooses his words well. Within a page, the reader will be in another time and place following the misadventures of marginal members of society. His victims are usually newcomers, petty crooks, lonely housewives, and other sad people. Babies suffer in these stories.

What is my favorite story? That is hard to say, but perhaps I'll say "William and Mary,"in which a husband wills his brain to science so that he can continue conscienceness in a bowl. "Royal Jelly," with the beekeeper reversing the decline of his infant daughter is a very close second. It is definitely not "Pig," which is too horrible to contemplate. Do not read "Pig" right before going to bed!

Kiss Kiss appears to be out of print. Over 800 libraries still have it, according to Worldcat. Libraries should not withdraw it from their collections, as it is every bit as powerful now as it was nearly fifty years ago. Some of the stories are in The Best of Roald Dahl, but you want to read them all.

Dahl, Roald. Kiss Kiss. Knopf, 1960.


Anonymous said...

YAY!! You liked it!! I'm so glad. And what a great title, and cover, to highlight right before Valentine's Day.

I LOVED the story about the woman and her husband's brain going to science. Genius. I think one of my patrons, who I convinced to read this one, summed it up best: "Oh, Mr. Dahl, you're a bad, bad man." Definitely one of those cases where he's so bad he's good, though. Glad you had fun with it.

Ana Regina Bresolin said...

Hi Rick!!

I`m an english teacher from Brazil and maybe you had no idea, but your post is in our english book. It's a special unit about books and the Landlady story was choosen to be one of the texts, as your post. I'll invite my high school student to drop by in your blog and enjoy it!! Thanks a lot

ricklibrarian said...


Thanks for letting me know. I hope you enjoyed the story.


Anonymous said...

tive acesso ao blog hoje,sou estudante da lingua inglesa e queria me aprofunda mais na lingua e sei que este blog vai me ajudar bastante,moro em Coari,Amazonas-Brasil.

I had access to the blog today, I am a student of English and I wanted more deeper language and I know that this blog will help me a lot,I live in Coari, Amazonas, Brazil.

Estela Mota said...

Olá, o seu blog é muito convidativo, adorei kiss, kiss, kiss