There were six of us to dinner that night at Mike Schofield’s house in London: Mike and his wife and daughter, my wife and I, and a man called Richard Pratt.
Today is the only Dahl A Day where I explore his adult short stories. I will say now that I am not a big fan of short stories. They either feel too abrupt or leave me wanting more and annoyed that they are not a longer book! As such, I generally avoid short story collections. That being said, if you were to ever pick up a collection of short stories – make it a collection of Roald Dahl’s.
Someone Like You is the first collection of adult stories penned by Dahl, combining his infamous wit with tales of dark and sinister circumstances. These stories step away from the fantastical of his children’s novels and focus instead on the frailties of man. The human condition can be very interesting place to explore and Dahl delves right into exploring the extreme emotions and actions of his characters, pushing the boundaries of behaviour.
From this group of witty and insightful texts, Skin, Lamb to the Slaughter and Taste particularly tickled me. Skin is a macabre tale of a man who has the final masterpiece of a revered artist tattooed on his back. Lamb to the Slaughter explores just how far a woman will go to cover up a crime and Taste tests the boundaries of common decency in gambling. I never believed that characters could be fully developed and their stories told within just a few pages but some of the stories in Someone Like You, particularly these three, proved my prejudices to be completely wrong.
In a collection it is inevitable that a couple of tales will not be your cup of tea and such is the case in Someone Like You. There were a few that I felt let the side down a bit but they didn’t upset my enjoyment of the collection overall. The writing standard is quintessential Dahl but in adult form – darker, less filtered with buckets of sarcastic wit and interesting characterisations. I’ll definitely be delving into some more of his adult titles in the future and you should too.