SWITCH BITCH by Roald Dahl

SWITCH BITCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

No other writer -- except perhaps John Collier -- has come within Kiss-Kiss-ing distance of Saki while other stories of that still earlier collection, "Skin," "Taste," and "Nunc Dimittis" are as nearly classic as anyone can remember. Of course "Lamb to the Slaughter" -- courtesy of Hitchcock -- is his most widely known. Dahl can (or could) refine the shudder into a frisson, finesse the reader out of his most unnerved expectations, and like Maupassant or O. Henry upend a story on a turnabout of surprise. Here these qualities are retained, force mineure, and there are none of the old subtleties of style. All have a sexual inclination beginning with "The Visitor," an episode from the Casanovan diaries of a great philanderer-bon vivant, an Uncle Oswald trapped in a fantastic castle in the Sinai desert. Uncle Oswald appears to lesser advantage in the last piece "Bitch." In between there's the incognito suburban wife-swapping in "Switcheroo" and the more original "The Last Act" in which a woman, contemplating her own suicide, is driven to destruction by an overly attentive former suitor, a doctor. Modestly diverting -- but one misses the imaginative flair and the truly tapered touch of evil synonomous with Dahl at his malevolent worst-best.
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1974
ISBN: 0140041796
Page count: 183pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1974




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