THE STORY-TELLER: Thirteen Tales by Saki by Saki

THE STORY-TELLER: Thirteen Tales by Saki

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though H. H. Munro's dry wit and malign imaginings were clearly not directed at children, children will be the natural audience for the 13 mordant dazzlers included here. Beginning with the anti-morality masterpiece of the title, in which a stranger in a railway carriage enthralls three children with the tale of a ""horribly good"" little girl betrayed to a hungry wolf by the clinking of her medals for goodness, Saki--himself raised by aunts--goes on to ""undermine the effects of years of careful teaching,"" as the children's tight-lipped aunt rebukes the story-teller. The instruments of retribution here are not the simple ironies of a ""Monkey's Paw"" fate but feats of gleeful malevolence--accomplished, typically, by cool and pitiless children upon a string of stand-in aunts. The mischief culminates in the victorious, penultimate story in which a ten-year-old invalid butters toast in voluptuous satisfaction as his ferret finishes off his meddling female guardian. Titherington's misty black-and-white drawings make all the characters look like wispy ghosts, but there's nothing ethereal about Saki's young avengers.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1982
Publisher: Godine