What could go wrong when a wife pawns the mink coat that her lover gave her as a parting gift? What happens when a priceless piece of furniture is the subject of a deceitful bargain? Can a wronged woman take revenge on her dead husband?
In these dark, disturbing stories Roald Dahl explores the sinister side of human nature: the cunning, sly, selfish part of each of us that leads us into the territory of the unexpected and unsettling. Stylish, macabre and haunting, these tales will leave you with a delicious feeling of unease.
First published: 1959
When I was little, Roald Dahl was one of my absolute favourite authors. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I read Matilda over and over again, until I practically knew it by heart. But up until a few weeks ago I’d never read any of his adult work. I received Kiss Kiss in my Secret Santa package from Kaja (during the Secret Santa event organised by The Broke and the Bookish) but I didn’t get around to reading it until this July. I had high hopes, obviously, since this is Roald Dahl we’re talking about. Not only one of my childhood favourites, but also a man who’s been called “the grand master of the short story”, “the master of the unpredictable” and “the master of the macabre”. This had to be great.
And it was!
I immediately felt this sense of nostalgia when I started reading, because although this is not a children’s book, it of course still has that amazing quality that Dahl brings to all of his work. The voices of the narrators in all of these short stories (there are eleven of them) are so wonderful. They’re not just objective narrators telling the story, they add something to the story. Some of the narrators tell the story as if from a distance, as if they know it from hear-say and not all of it might be true. Other narrators are completely omniscient, and there are also those narrators that feel as if they’re acquaintances of the protagonists of the stories. Dahl uses so many different storytelling tricks, and they are a huge part of what makes these stories so special.
Then there are, of course, the plots of the stories, which are magnificent as well. I’m pretty sure I had a huge grin on my face while reading the first story, because they’re just so much fun. So creepy and disturbing, but so fun. The way Dahl describes the characters is also amazing. He gives detailed descriptions of their faces and their overall appearances and I immediately conjured up an image of all of these characters while I was reading. I love it when that happens.
I was just kind of in awe of Dahl’s skill and talent the entire time and relishing every clever turn of phrase or plot twist – and there are so many of them. He really is a master storyteller and I would definitely recommend reading Kiss Kiss to everyone who loves a great story.