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Tales of the Unexpected (Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected #1)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,600 Ratings  ·  323 Reviews
A wine connoisseur with an infallible palate and a sinister taste in wagers. A decrepit old man with a masterpiece tattooed on his back. A voracious adventuress, a gentle cuckold, and a garden sculpture that becomes an instrument of sadistic vengeance. Social climbers who climb a bit too quickly. Philanderers whose deceptions are a trifle too ornate. Impeccable servants wh ...more
Paperback, 471 pages
Published July 14th 1990 by Random House Vintage Books (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K. Axel
Jul 05, 2011 K. Axel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
I must admit that when I first purchased this book, I really thought it was a book for children. Why did I think this? Well, mostly because I've only read childrens' books by Roald Dahl. This is not a book for children!

This is another review-in-progress, starting with the very first story.

Taste is the story of two men, Mike Schoefield and Richard Pratt. They have this curious tradition that Mike finds a wine, a really good wine, and then Richard has to guess what it is. However, at this partic
...more
Teresa
Estes contos são uma coisa maravilhosa!
Dezasseis histórias contadas com um humor muito negro e com uns finais cruéis e surpreendentes. De alguns lembro-me de os ter visto numa série, que passou há muitos anos na televisão, e que eu adorava: Hitchcock Apresenta.
Creio que não estão traduzidos para português, o que é uma pena; li-os em castelhano graças ao César Lasso, a quem muito agradeço.
Allison
Jun 25, 2009 Allison rated it it was ok
The problem with this book is that all of the endings were expected! This would be a great book to use as a model for lessons in irony with a creative writing class, because that is the purpose of every story--to provide an ironic ending to an otherwise relatively mundane story. I like irony as much as anyone else, but none of the endings were surprising. It's hard to stay engaged in a suspenseful short story when you can predict the ending from page two. Luckily, I like to see execution, so I d ...more
Hanne
Nov 28, 2013 Hanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Unfortunately i only got to page 119 when i had to return it to the library, so i'll continue the rest of the book at a later time.

Still, those stories I read, I really liked. Very dahl-esque, quirky stories that read very fast (so don't ask why i didn't manage to finish it in the normal library-loan-time). All kind of weird events, such as chopped fingers and even people who literally sell their skin, but they're all embedded in a very normal world.

And even though none of these stories really
...more
★
I wish I could give this a 3.5
Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors, and I love all his children's books. However, I was not sure what to expect from this collection of short stories aimed at older readers.
I think the main problem, was the first few stories were EXCELLENT, and set the bar way too high for the remaining tales. That is not to say they were bad. Every story was good and enjoyable, its just the first few were truly marvelous.

By far my favorite of the stories was: "Lamb to the
...more
Matt
Dec 06, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I didn't really know what to expect going into reading the adult works of Roald Dahl. I had some previous familiarity with his work, but it had been basically nothing but children's books. I really enjoyed 'Matilda' when I was young, and in the last two years I picked up 'Boy', and 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' both of which I thought were pretty good. To say that the Dahl of his children's books and the Dahl of his adult writings seem to be two entirely different people is an understatement.

Where 'Matild
...more
Rhomy
Mar 10, 2015 Rhomy rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
An entertaining book, some stories were very predictable but others were great.
My personal favorites are The Landlady, Nunc Dimittis, and Skin. And the best one: The way up to Heaven.

I didn't like the fact that the author portraited every women in the book in such a grotesque way but most of the characters were very interesting, the stories were original and the imagination of the author is noticeable.

I want to keep on reading his work.
Cleo
Mar 30, 2013 Cleo rated it it was amazing
I decided to forgo reading the 900 page volume of all of Roald Dahl's short stories and purchase a smaller collection to make sure I actually liked them first. And I did. Tales of the Unexpected is full of just that - tales with so many unexpected events. This is Roald Dahl at his morbid best. His children's books may be morbid, but they're nothing in comparison to his adult short stories. I particularly liked "Lamb to the Slaughter"; it was funny in a bleak sort of way. "Man From the South" is ...more
Johanna
Aug 23, 2013 Johanna rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories showcases a much darker and more sinister side of Roald Dahl than his previous works of children’s fiction. In sixteen short stories the reader is both enthralled and appalled at the depths to which some of the characters sink to when placed in various predicaments. Who could forget the chilling tale of the landlady who taxidermies her guests, or the housewife who kills her husband with a leg of lamb and then serves the lamb to the investigating police officers.

T
...more
Chak
Feb 15, 2016 Chak rated it it was ok
I read this for one of my book clubs and I admit I went into it with preconceived notions. I immediately thought I wouldn't like it because other than the two Charlie books, which I greatly enjoyed, I don't like to read Dahl. His stuff is often just too unnecessarily mean spirited without the moral ambiguity to make all characters somewhat interesting.

But I started to read TotU and thought "wow, interesting!" when I read the first story, Taste. The tension was built nicely, and it was great. It
...more
Ro Cepellos
Jul 14, 2009 Ro Cepellos rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of suspense, short stories, and Roald Dahl
Recommended to Ro by: Colmenares
Shelves: dark-humor
Hands down one of THE most delightful books I've read in a while. It's not often I find myself itching to flip forward in the book because I simply can't take the suspense; with this collection of short stories, I was doing that every time I picked it up! You know there's a twist coming, you think you've predicted what it'll be, but you're surprised every time. Roald Dahl managed to keep my level of anticipation and suspense at a nearly fevered pitch throughout the entire work, and there were ma ...more
Heli Miranda ahumada
Un libro de cuentos cortos que esperaba leer rapido y me sorprendio, un humor excelente, cada historia logra sorprender un poco, para el ultimo me rei a carcajadas con el final. Mantiene un punto en común sin embargo que resulta interesante y es el engaño que usan y del que son presas los personajes, las apuestas y las sorpesas, recomendado.
Celeste Chia
Dec 24, 2014 Celeste Chia rated it really liked it
I read many of Roald Dahl's short stories for adults when I was 11 and didn't get most of the dark humour the same way I got today. Dahl has a gift for placing his completely ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, and writes a fascinating tale all the way to the end, where he masterfully concludes the story with a twist. He hits the right spot in ending each story, leaving me in marvel, disappointed that the story has ended but excited for the next.
Peggy
Nov 20, 2015 Peggy rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I read a lot of Dahl's books in my childhood, but this was the first one aimed at adults. Also my first book of short stories. I really liked the writing style. The stories themselves varied though, and I didn't get all of the endings.
Sasha Bell
Mar 25, 2015 Sasha Bell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scared-me, faves
This book is amazing, and has all of my favourite short stories. They're clever, and interesting, and they make you feel slightly uneasy. In these stories surfaces the seamier underside of human nature. (The exception is The Boy Who Talked with Animals, which was intended for a younger audience). I especially recommend Taste and Lamb to the Slaughter.
Hannah Louey
May 19, 2014 Hannah Louey rated it really liked it
http://setinmotion1.wordpress.com/

While I’m not usually the biggest fan of short stories, there are always exceptions. And of course I was going to make one for Roald Dahl’s collection of short stories for adults – Tales of the Unexpected. Not only did they retain my interest that most short stories fail to do, but they also were sufficiently sinister and creepy to leave me with a tingling, ‘gooly’ feeling afterwards.

All of us who have read a single book in our lives have heard of Roald Dahl, be
...more
Clari
Feb 03, 2016 Clari rated it really liked it
"Taste" 4/5

"Lamb to the Slaughter" 5/5

"Man from the South" 3.5/5

"My Lady Love, My Dove" 3.5/5

"Dip in the Pool" 4/5

"Galloping Foxley" 3.5/5

"Skin" 3/5

"Neck" 3.5/5

"Nunc Dimittis" 4.5/5

"The Landlady" 4/5

"William and Mary" 1/5

"The Way Up to Heaven" (R) 5/5

"Parson's Pleasure" 2/5

"Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat" (R) 5/5

"Royal Jelly" 1/5

"Edward the Conqueror" 3/5
Postcards from far away
Storie impreviste ma anche molto improbabili.

Noto scrittore per ragazzi/bambini, Roald Dahl è stato uno dei primi autori che ho saputo apprezzare, e poi amare, quando iniziavo appena a sfogliare libri e a catapultarmi in mondi fantastici ma sopratutto diversi e, dunque, migliori da quello reale.
Ammetto che non ero a conoscenza di questo libro (e del suo successivo "Storie ancora più impreviste") fino a qualche mese fa.
Questa vena artistica simile ma anche molto diversa appartiene allo stesso scr
...more
Edward Watson
Jun 11, 2016 Edward Watson rated it really liked it
I had only read Roahl Dahl's children's books before this and didn't know that he had written for adults too. I came across this as a beaten-up paperback copy at a Spanish market stall (35 years old). For one euro, I thought i'd give it a try.

I'm so pleased I picked it up, because it's a great read. And an enjoyable one to pick up and put down, since you need only read one story at a time. My favourites were Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat and Lamb to the Slaughter. The first I gasped at and th
...more
پگاه
May 19, 2016 پگاه rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ریت به مجموعه داستان دادن سخت ه و واقعی نمیشه هیچ وقت، ولی خب در مجموع، «ایت واز امیزینگ»!

داستانها خیلی خوب بودن. شاید که توصیفها معمولی بودن، فضا معمولی بود، ولی آه از پیرنگ! که من هرچی فکرکردم فقط دو سه تا موراکامی خاطرم اومد که رقابت میکردن باهاش!
...more
Alix
Feb 17, 2016 Alix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, welsh
A good collection from one of the best storytellers. Dahl had a very peculiar sense of humor, and he used it in just the right amount. A perfect balance between the hilarious and the macabre. "Man from the South" is probably my favorite of the lot.
sj
I read and reread the shit out of this book in junior high and high school. Pretty sure I wrote some shitty short story that was essentially a retelling of "Lamb to the Slaughter," too. I think I even let my English teacher read it.
David
Mar 14, 2013 David rated it really liked it
These were some fun stories. Some I liked better than others, some I already knew already though I didn't remember that they were Dahl, and some reminded me a bit of O. Henry. I wasn't exactly blown away, but I did have fun reading.
Aasem Bakhshi
Aug 18, 2013 Aasem Bakhshi rated it really liked it
Each story would leave you with a big smile with a strong urge that the person sitting next to you would read it too. Pleasure and nostalgia all the way.
Lea
Jul 22, 2015 Lea rated it liked it
1. The stories in this collection reminds me a lot of O. Henry’s.
2. There’s no doubt about Dahl’s writing prowess.
3. But it gets tiring to read too. Until now, I’ve never bothered to finish reading my collection of O. Henry stories because I know that I will be surprised in every story.
4. First, a disclaimer: I haven’t read other reviews for this book. But it didn’t quite exceed my expectations. When an author decides to switch flavors–in this case, when a known children’s literature writer vent
...more
Jenny Burridge
Jan 05, 2013 Jenny Burridge rated it it was amazing
Shelves: roald-dahl
Excellent.
Denver
May 05, 2016 Denver rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-catalogue
Having read this - parts of - book in my last (secondary) year of English, I must say I did not enjoy the stories as much as I would have liked. This is partly because, when growing up, I associated Roald Dahl with children's stories (Mathilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and so on). Dahl has written for many, broad audiences, the contrast between the former example becoming ever so clear now.

Upon re-reading the book as a twenty-year-old man, I have come to love the short stories in "Tale
...more
Virginia Agnew
Oct 27, 2015 Virginia Agnew rated it it was amazing
I read this anthology when I was in grade school. We had a little library in our parish school classroom which I thought was brilliant. It was mostly filled with Sweet Valley High novels, so this book really stood out. None of the other students read it, but then they weren't as nerdy as I was with my watching Dr.Who and Blake's 7 every weekend on PBS. I kind of miss that kind of ostracism. When adults ostracize one another, it's far more wicked, especially among women. Sigh.
Returning to this b
...more
Aurélie (Exploring Pages)
More reviews on my blog, Exploring Pages.
"If this is about what I am beginning to suspect it is about, she told herself, then I don't want to read it.
Can one refuse to read a letter from the dead?"

-- Roald Dahl, Tales of the Unexpected

There's no doubt about it: Roald Dahl is one of the greatest writers who has every lived. His stories are compelling, heart-breaking; keep you on the edge of your seat and is read by thousands of people all across the globe. I can understand why people are sayin
...more
Elisa
Jul 29, 2012 Elisa rated it it was amazing
Ill be honest: I didnt know anything about Roald Dahl before getting hold of this book. I bumped on this title while reading a piece about Rachmans The Imperfectionists, which said that both authors had a similar style – something about “unexpected endings”. It was then that I googled his name and found out that he is one of the most acclaimed British writers of all time, and that he wrote classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I decided I should get to know his work, and so I download ...more
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Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as "A Piece of Cake". The story, about his wartime a
...more
More about Roald Dahl...

Other Books in the Series

Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected (2 books)
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“And when I protested a bit more, I remember he said, 'My dear Lady Ponsonby, there's nothing immoral about this. Art is only immoral when practiced by amateurs. It's the same with medicine. You wouldn't refuse to undress before your doctor, would you?” 2 likes
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