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The Umbrella Man and Other Stories

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  2,534 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Is it really possible to invent a machine that does the job of a writer? What is it about the landlady's house that makes it so hard for her guests to leave? Does Sir Basil Turton value most his wife or one of his priceless sculptures? These compelling tales are a perfect introduction to the adult writing of a storytelling genius.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 19th 2004 by Speak (first published April 6th 1982)
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Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
139th out of 1,894 books — 1,437 voters
Matilda by Roald DahlCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlThe BFG by Roald DahlThe Witches by Roald DahlJames and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl
23rd out of 34 books — 144 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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PurplyCookie
”The Great Automatic Grammatizator” (from “Someone Like You”): A mechanically-minded man reasons that the rules of grammar are fixed by certain, almost mathematical principles. By exploiting this idea, he is able to create a mammoth machine that can write a prize-winning novel in roughly fifteen minutes. The story ends on a fearful note, as more and more of the world's writers are forced into licensing their names-and all hope of human creativity-to the machine.

”Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coa
...more
Amin Muhaimin
This is a disappointment.

Yeah, I am a fan of Roald Dahl. The last time I read Skin other stories, he was absolutely brilliant. All the stories are awesome. Yeah, unexpected and you were excited with the ending.

But this one, I didn't even got all those feelings. Yeah, the story still unexpected but mostly when at the end of the story I was like..."Ooo...okay" and "Haa...did I miss anything?(so I turned few pages back and read again expecting i missed the punchline)".

I'm not sure if I didn't unde
...more
Jonathan
Matilda was captivating as read out loud by my fourth grade teacher. So I had high hopes for this collection but came up wanting more. Considerably more.

This collection starts off with the zingers of "The Great Automatic Grammatizator," an indictment of greedy publishers and lazy writers (the message will never be outdated) that doubles as a plain fun story.

Other shorties worth the look are "Parson's Pleasure" and "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat" - karma, baby! - and the sickest of the lot, "
...more
Rachel
I decided to read this book after reading A Lamb to the Slaughter in school. I loved Roald Dahl books as a child, so I was curious about what his stories for older children were like. I was not disappointed. Some of the stories are really memorable, I read this book almost ten years ago and I can remember some of the stories vividly. My particular favourites from the book were Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat , Royal Jelly and the books name sake The Great Automatic Grammatizator.

(view spoiler
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Kacey
Roald Dahl is the reason I love to read, and my inspiration to become a writer myself one day. So I admit I have a certain bias to him. With that said, I loved every single one of these stories. I can't think of any that I disliked or was bored with in any way. Dahl has a way of weaving the story together to make all the characters interesting and the plot engaging, even in a short amount of space.

The different flavors of each story were delightful. Some sent a shiver down my spine, some were qu
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Jill Guccini
I found & bought this book while volunteering at the library bookstore. I've decided I'd like to go back and try to read every book by my favorite childhood authors - Roald Dahl and Paul Zindel, mainly - and I'm increasingly finding that Dahl wrote all these other adult books other than Boy and Flying Solo I had never heard of. Although I only realized halfway into this book after reading the back cover that this was a collection of his stories apparently chosen for young adults, but like mo ...more
Gina
Sep 13, 2007 Gina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone!
Roald Dahl re-secured his place as my favorite author in this collection of short stories. I picked up a used copy in Powell's City of Books when I was in Portland, and I am almost finished with it already. It was great to have on the plane! Some of these are dark sort of tales, some are just funny, and some are wistful. He's good at every type. You might remember "Lamb to the Slaughter," in which a woman kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb (a Twilight Zone episode was based on this). We ...more
Shanna Williams
You may have suspected, from longer works like Matilda, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or James and the Giant Peach, that Dahl loves to see terrible people get their due. This book of short stories is no exception, and after a while you get the feeling that Dahl is simply trying to put right what the world itself so often fails to. And yes, the baddies get what's coming to them, but the beauty lies in the fact that the heroes and heroines experience their victories so quietly, so gracious ...more
Zoe
Roald Dahl was one scary man. Each story is so freaking creepy even when nothing really happens. Dahl has a way of playing with the reader's expectations and amping up the atmosphere and suspense so that by the end, you're left in disbelief and awe. The most hard-hitting one for me was Royal Jelly because of how sick Dahl was with his vocab. The story seems rather heart-warming at first to see how devoted the father is, until we get a sense of his crazed belief that his daughter should be a quee ...more
Cindie Harp
A much-smarter friend recommended this to me, and lent me her library-borrowed copy, which shows a lot of trust. How could I not read it? I called her and asked her a question about it, one of the short stories that is, and she was afraid I was not "getting" the twist that each story provides at the end. I told you, she is much smarter than I. I got it. I did! It was a fun read, if not one that fills the reader with warm feelings of humanity's redemption. Hey, it is Roald Dahl!
e.c.h.a
Jul 04, 2012 e.c.h.a rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Harun, Mery, Mbak Mia, Mbak Uci, Mbak Roos
13 stories from this book have a hilarious ending and some have a twist ending. You will not find a happy ending one. Some have a horror effect, quite smooth but it really makes me spooky. You always questioning what will happen at the end when you read it, until you find it by yourself.

My fave stories are The Land Lady, Parson's Pleasure, The Umbrella Man, Royal Jelly.

Roald Dahl is a good story teller indeed and am totally agree with that. *bowing*
Olivia
If you're a fan of Dahl's writing for kids, you MUST try his stuff for grown-ups. That slightly macabre tint that he gives to everything works every bit as well for adults. Some of these were so funny I was laughing out loud, others so poignantly beautiful I was on the edge of tears.

These are a great example of the fact that in Dahl's world, just like in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, people always get what they deserve. Read it!
Charlotte H
Roald Dahl writing stories for adults makes you nervous at first. Will there be enough whimsy to give my inner child a sugar rush? Eh, some. More so than the war memoirs. The collection of stories often features a curious child who asks too many questions and challenges the authority of adults. So Dahl's habits die hard, but it's worth toting with you on a train or to a waiting room.
Cheryl
Roald Dahl is a great story teller! Every story is so different and I am impressed with how creative he is. I am always waiting for the twist at the end of the story. My favorite in this collection is Katina, which is more touching, serious, real and powerful than the other short stories in the collection. But I enjoy the darker or more light-hearted stories as well.
Beth
Roald Dahl is my favorite- so I love discovering collections of his short stories I didn't know were in print. He wrote for adults for a while before he wrote for children. These are some of his short stories for adults and true to form they are weird and wonderful. I highly recommend if you're a fan of Dahl's work, or if you just need a dark comedy fix!
Bskidmore
It's always nice to read a book purely for fun, not just because you have to! He was one of my favorite authors when I was younger, very fun and descriptive with his writing. All of these short stories have a fun twist at the end....but over time, the "surprise" ending starts getting more and more predictable. :)
Rebecca
This was a cute collection of short stories. They aren't all one specific genre which I liked but I definitely enjoyed most the ones that were leaning towards horror. I was surprised that Roald Dahl wrote for adults before writing for children. I think he found his calling when he switched to children's books.
Aline Lin Lin
This was another book i found at my library without properly searching it! I enjoyed the stories, they are diffent to the common stories i was used to read and really short and easy to understand. I was surprised that the author was well known and i didnt know him before.
Elizabeth
Ooh! These stories were just spooky. Vintage Dahl--these stories are written for adults. Colette tells me that many of them became premises for "Tales of the Weird". These are vicious tales of comeuppance. Ultimately, I would say that they are about karma!
bick
i have always loved roald dahl, but this was his first adult book a read. his stories have an o. henry quality to them, with clever twists and turns, but they end in such away that leave you wanting more. very enjoyable.
Sothdra
It would get a 2.5. The majority of the stories are quick, but very anti-climactic. Few left me satisfied. I would perhaps recommend reading the first half of the stories, and then call it a day. Not terribly impressed.
Hanna
Dahl's short stories are filled with twists and turns that are somehow unexpected. His use of words is masterful. And, he has an amazing sense of humor. Would suggest reading this book with tea and crumpets.
Sheba
introduced to this book by my wonderful former coteacher, who modified certain stories to make them "child-friendly" for the grades 4-6 set, but still creepy enough to keep them on the edge of their seats.
Giulia
What a collection! Some are heartwarming, some are scary (well, most of them are) and with so much hidden meaning about our society nowadays. Such a rereadable book!
Vika Ivanova
Dec 30, 2012 Vika Ivanova rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves short stories
Never trust a man with an umbrella! Greatly written short stories, they made me laugh out loud and sometimes they seemed to be very moving.
Sarah
According to the inscription inside the book, my BFF Becky gave me a copy of this book for my birthday in 2007. So on my birthday in 2013, I started reading it.

I know I’ve read a few of Roald Dahl’s children’s books in the past, you know, the staples. But I like his short stories better now. They remind me of Flannery O’Connor, and I guess all of his works have that element of shock and surprise, or some twist at the end. Some are more horrifying than others, some have good endings and some have
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Asra Ghouse
I was ever so little when I'd read this! I remember it so well in spite of that. The Umbrella Man happens to be the first Roald Dahl story I've ever read. Each story in this is good, nay, beyond great! Perhaps I felt that way since it was the first time I'd touched Dahl. What ever it might be, I guess there's a consensus out there that this book holds great stories!

This book contains a collection of 13 short stories, crafted in a fascinating manner by Dahl. Now, I wont be going in to the details
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Ryan Lum
The umbrella man is a collection of thirteen tales that teaches a lesson in some sort of way. The stories grab you and makes you keep on wanting to read more and more. Every lesson it teaches has to do with something special like cheating,stealing, or scamming some one and how it can have a major consequence in the end. One major story is called the man from the south. This story begins in a small country club when a normal citizen is just sitting around on the benches when a foreign man come up ...more
Rahma Sakinah
I love books and i love bookstores too. I love fictions, i love fantasies, i love thrillers, and i love ROALD DAHL. This one writer is the best writer EVER for me. The first time i read his book, it was The Witches which with perfect twists greatly succeed on making me addicted. I bought all of his books and i'm still asking for more. The books i read were his writings for children. And several weeks ago in my favorite bookstore-Periplus Galaxy Mall- i found his adult book and it made me simpere ...more
Sharni


The Great Automatic Grammatizator (from Someone Like You): A mechanically-minded man reasons that the rules of grammar are fixed by certain, almost mathematical principles. By exploiting this idea, he is able to create a mammoth machine that can write a prize-winning novel in roughly fifteen minutes. The story ends on a fearful note, as more and more of the world's writers are forced into licensing their names-and all hope of human creativity-to the machine.
Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat (fr
...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...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) Matilda James and the Giant Peach The BFG The Witches

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“Give us strength, oh Lord, to let our children starve.” 11 likes
“Then suddenly, he was struck by a powerful but simple little truth, and it was this: that English grammar is governed by rules that are almost mathematical in their strictness!” 9 likes
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