Lamb to the Slaughter.

12 Feb

Have you ever met someone who wasn’t fond of the writings of Roald Dahl?

I haven’t. And if I did, I’m not sure how keen I’d be to get to know them. What sort of monster could put down a story like Esio Trot, The Twits, The BFG, or the so-called-autobiographical Boy and Going Solo without falling madly in love with Dahl’s wise morality, warmth and acute sense of irony?

I mean, just look at that face. What’s not to love?

Dig a little deeper into Dahl’s collection, beyond the chocolate factory rigged with death traps and past the enormous flying fruit, and you’ll discover a side of the man you might not expect. You’ll find it in his perfectly revolting adult fiction.

If you can get your hands on a copy of My Uncle Oswald, I can assure that it will leave you both delighted and disturbed. I certainly can’t imagine a modern children’s book author like J.K. Rowling putting their name to a series of increasingly perverted vignettes. Just imagine how brave Dahl was to do it in the 1950s.

Now, seeing as today is Friday and it’s a beautiful day in Auckland, I thought I’d provide some lunchtime reading. Here is a fine short story entitled Lamb to the Slaughter. Initially rejected by the New Yorker, along with four of Dahl’s other shorts, it was eventually published by Harper’s magazine in 1953. I encourage you to venture out into the sunshine, find a nice tree to perch under, and enjoy.

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