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The Collected Short Stories of Saki

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,960 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
'All decent people live beyond their incomes nowadays, and those who aren't respectable live beyond other peoples'

Saki (H.H. Munro) stands alongside Anton Chekhov and O Henry as a master of the short story. His extraordinary stories are a mixture of humorous satire, irony and the macabre, in which the stupidities and hypocrisy of conventional society are viciously pillorie
Paperback, 494 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd (first published 1930)
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Reading Saki made me feel like a palaeontologist uncovering some critical part of the fossil record. Here it is! The missing link between Kipling and Wodehouse, in that very dry, deadpan and distinctly English tradition of narrative wit. It's a humour that comes not from comical misunderstandings or elaborate set-pieces, but rather that inheres purely in the absolute precision of the descriptions, the deadly irony of conversational rejoinders. A wife giving her husband the silent treatment, for ...more
Jun 26, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing
I read 75 - 80% (not 100% if you're the sort that needs to keep score) of the wonderful stories in this collection. It was a library book, so I thought I'd be a good citizen for a change and give someone else a chance to experience Saki's superlative writing. I can't read more than 5 - 6 of Saki's stories in a row, but any day on which I read 5 - 6 of them sparkled a bit more for having done so.

*Note: the "n" word appears on occasion in Saki's stories, as do references to "gypsy" children as tho
Lubinka Dimitrova
Beautifully written... Loved the delicate humor throughout the stories.
Nandakishore Varma
I do not know how popular Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) is nowadays. During my college days, short stories by him and O. Henry were mandatory in almost all college textbooks. I think “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry and “The Open Window” by Saki might be two of the most anthologised stories. The difference between the two authors is that while O. Henry directly appeals to our emotions and the twist at the end strikes with the power of a jack-hammer, Saki is more subtle and his stories appeal to our ...more
Matthew White
I'm going to have to dissuade anyone from actually reading this gargantuan compendium front to back. While it's well written, it's incredibly repetitive and the stories bleed into each other to create a dense and sludgy tread through Edwardian society as seen by a cynic. Recommended for completists and masochists only; casual readers may wish to opt for a Best Of selection instead.
Anthony Buckley
Apr 11, 2009 Anthony Buckley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Cool, bitter, bitter humour. These tales belonging the genre called the "Butler's Revenge". Saki's favourite people, however, are children and domestic animals. These, like Saki himself, are imprisioned outsiders, who bite back at the dull, complacent people who control them.
Oct 21, 2009 Lorelei rated it really liked it
I really love this book, but it took me so long to read it... Something about the stories generally made me unable to finish one and just launch into the next one, and there are a lot of stories. Some of them are so funny it hurt. I would recommend this book, but if you are like me, be sure you aren't expecting to finish it quickly.
Jun 11, 2008 Isaac rated it really liked it
At the time my mother gave this as a gift, she may or may not have seen how like this volume's central character I had already become (a snippy queer), but I thank her just the same. Saki's stories chronicle Clovis as he dishes out pre-Roald Dahl, sitcomesque lesson-teaching to the pompous elite.
Paul White
Dec 31, 2014 Paul White rated it it was amazing
I am an Author who envies the ability of certain writers whose works tend to transcend the vagaries of time.
By this I do not mean that I agree or support all the literary academics views on what is, or what is not, a great ‘classic’.

Here I am speaking purely from my own personal perspective with regards to books which have had a great impact on my life.
One author has tickled my funny bone with such satirical wit that I cannot pass the opportunity to write this review.

The author in question is He
Isabel (kittiwake)
Tell me a story," said the Baroness, staring out despairingly at the rain; it was that light, apologetic sort of rain that looks as if it was going to leave off every minute and goes on for the greater part of the afternoon.

"What sort of story?" asked Clovis, giving his croquet mallet a valedictory shove into retirement.

"One just true enough to be interesting and not true enough to be tiresome," said the Baroness.

Clovis rearranged several cushions to his personal solace and satisfaction; he kne
Sep 18, 2016 5greenway rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, glittering shards. Like 'Pink Flag' by Wire, if you don't like the one you're on, there'll be something else great along soon. Like 'Pink Flag' by Wire, though, it's pretty much all great.
Dec 11, 2012 Tamizhmarai rated it it was amazing
Christopher Hitchens writes in an article on Saki "Wodehouse happily admitted to being influenced by Saki, and it would be interesting to know to what extent Saki was himself influenced by Wilde. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that he was, because some of his epigrams (“Beauty is only sin deep”) betray an obvious indebtedness, and one (“To lose an hotel and a cake of soap in one afternoon suggests willful carelessness”) is an almost direct appropriation from The Importance of Being ...more
Confirmed Neurotic
Jan 15, 2012 Confirmed Neurotic rated it really liked it
H H Munroe ... What an absolute delight to read. His pen-name "Saki" which in Urdu means "one who serves wine" is totally justified. He intoxicates and mesmerises readers with his play of words, premise and characterization leaving them to want more ... ask any ardent Daroo-baaj who always demands (as if a lawful right) a last drink when the bar is about to close.

I went berserk with laughter after reading some of his stories. The one I remember are "Mrs. Packletide's Tiger", "The open Window",
Aug 31, 2016 Lana marked it as to-read
Shelves: owned
I remember way back when I was in year 6, this 5th grader's mum gifted me this book as a present (she ordered a copy for her son and another for me), and I vowed that I would never read it because I hated her son with a passion.

Eight years later, the book's sitting on my shelf (still unread), and I still don't understand how a ten-year-old boy would be interested in reading a book like this when the nineteen-year-old version of me can't even make it past the first page...

But I will read this!

Jul 30, 2016 Travelin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think Saki was the type of man society women kept hovering around in the parlour, like his famous cat. His famous story about a talking cat really made me laugh, until the end, that is, which was too droll and catty, like many of his other short stories, done without purpose, just for a weak giggle.
Dec 02, 2013 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic collection of short stories. The author packs so much detail and imagination into each one and they are only a few pages long. They are both funny and dark at the same time. I can't thank my friend Myra enough for sending me this one!
Aug 31, 2012 Afhb rated it it was amazing
The best stories in this collection are master-works: perfectly paced with strong characterisation and decidedly anti-establishment themes. Brilliant book which you can pick up on a whim and jump immediately into a bygone age.
Mar 06, 2014 Tilda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hysterically funny with Saki's good old-fashioned dry English wit. A collection of stories with rarely a miss and most will make you laugh out loud if you share Hector Hugh Munro's sense of the ridiculous.
Kač Janotová
Jan 17, 2017 Kač Janotová rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
odpocinkova zalezitost, povidky kratke, vtipne ...takova ta knizka kterou clovek muze kdykoliv zavrit a zase otevrit.
1) Reginald
2) Reginald on Christmas Presents
3) Reginald on the Academy
4) Reginald at the Theatre
5) Reginald's Peace Poem
6) Reginald's Choir Treat
7) Reginald on Worries
8) Reginald on House-Parties
9) Reginald at the Carlton
10) Reginald on Besetting Sins
11) Reginald's Drama
12) Reginald on Tariffs
13) Reginald's Christmas Revel
14) Reginald's Rubaiyat
15) The Innocence of Reginald
16) Reginald in Russia
17) The Reticence of Lady Anne
18) The Lost Sanjak
19) The Sex that Doesn't Shop
20) The Blood-Feud of To
Sep 12, 2013 Riezkystory rated it really liked it
Saki artinya adalah pembawa cangkir dalam bahasa Persia. Kata yang diambil dari kumpulan syair karya Omar Khayam (salah satu kumpulan syair terbagus yang pernah gue baca) tersebut akhirnya diambil seorang sastrawan Inggris bernama H.H Munro sebagai nama pena (Kalau kita mengetikkan kata Saki di pencarian Google, seringkali yang muncul justru judul sebuah anime :D ). Saki dikenal sebaga penulis cerita pendek, dengan gaya yang menurut gue merupakan campuran gaya penulis O Henry dan Oscar Wilde. Ke ...more
Dec 06, 2010 Frankie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
Saki has been recommended to me many times by friends. His stories could be considered short short fiction, as most of them range from 3 to 5 pages. His brevity yet thoroughness is impressive, as he manages to include all necessary plot details in an unimposing way. Many contemporary short fiction writers try to excuse plot gaps and lack of detail by waving the wand of stream-of-consciousness in the reader's face (or by labeling it prose poetry).

My only hesitations lie in the campy simplicity of
Feb 13, 2013 Nadia rated it liked it
In these short stories, Munro displays the talent for satirizing his contemporary times in short story form that is characteristic of journalists turned writers (Mark Twain and Jaroslaw Hasek come to mind); in this instance, on top of the usual critique of social mores, conventions and politics, we have a healthy dose of dark and twisted humour that highlights the ridicule of the high-class world described even more. Munro is very witty and infinitely quotable: I intended to make note of a few o ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Tony rated it it was amazing
THE BEST OF SAKI. (pre-1914). Saki (H. H. Munro). *****.
Aside from coming across the inclusion of one of his stories in one anthology or another, I haven’t really read much of his short works. I have read his novel, “The Unbearable Bassington,” and enjoyed it. He is known, however, for his short stories. It was a tragedy that he was killed in the First World War; it was from a sniper in France. Supposedly, Munro’s last words were: “Put out that damned cigarette.” It just might be a good story. H
Ibrahem Wasti
Jun 06, 2015 Ibrahem Wasti rated it it was amazing
Saki must me a great person to have a conversation with, but never an argument. He seems to be the guy that can turn every political or philosophical discussion on its head out of sheer improvisational wit. His dialogues can convey the personalities of his characters or caricatures with as simple response to a question or whimsical comment.

Below is my ranking of the 10 best short stories, out of 22, I read by Saki from best to worst in descending order (the other 12 are listed, but not ranked).
Erik Graff
Oct 01, 2008 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
This is one of the several purchases I made at the book section of Korvettes when Dad would deposit me there during his bargain hunting marathons. It also was the first time I experienced the exquisite delights of outrage when unjustly accused--outside of familial circumstances of course. The tale is pretty simple. After being picked up by Dad and being directed--his right hand on my head, turning it in to turn me as we walked along--to the parking lot, two men in suits came up to us besides our ...more
Jul 06, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
These books are a delightful account of Edwardian society from the eye of a gentleman with a very sharp sense of humour and an ability to write "soundbites" about 80 years before the politician's spin doctors invented the phrase. Some are better than others, and perhaps there ia a lack of variety in the stories, but they all bear re-reading.

Some of the memorable soundbites (aka verbal pyrotechnics) are:

"The cook was a good cook as cooks go, and as cooks go, she went."

"Addresses are given to us t
Dimitar Pizhev
Nov 20, 2013 Dimitar Pizhev rated it really liked it
Абсурдите на общуването, ексцентричностите на буржоазния манталитет, променящият се свят в началото на ХХ в. - всичко има в разказите на Саки, дори ужаси. Да, повечето са хумористични, но не очаквайте нищо а ла Удхаус. Много често Саки започва разказа си с почти безгрижен тон, който с нарастващ ужас кристализира в кошмар, халюцинация, самозаблуда, лъжа, горчива действителност. Ако трябва да посоча лайтмотив, свързващ по-голямата част от историите, това са животните - глупави, закачливи, насмешли ...more
Sep 29, 2013 Spiderorchid rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I gave up after five months and didn't finish it (just for comparison: it usually takes me a week to finish a book).

The style is witty and amusing, the author definitly was a fan of Oscar Wilde and at times the litttle stories or vignettes reminded me of Arthur Schnitzler`s "Anatol" stories (highly recommended, by the way). But sadly, Saki's efforts are missing the dynamic and poignancy of those works, his writing is oddly lifeless, regardless of how many funny situations and sly double-entendre
May 27, 2010 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It takes quite a good writer to make a book of short of stories that I'm willing to read straight through. The mixture of turn of the century American writing similar to F. Scott Fitzgerald but with a twist in each story that takes them out of the city to contend with nature. "Esme" the story of the women who capture a hyena in the woods who promptly devours a gypsy child was twisted and funny, but Tobermory was the best examining the idea that we come to resemble physically and in other maneris ...more
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Hector Hugh Munro, better known by the pen name Saki, was born in Akyab, Burma (now known as Sittwe, Myanmar), was a British writer, whose witty and sometimes macabre stories satirized Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and is often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. His tales feature delicately drawn characters and finely judged narratives. "The Open ...more
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