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The Chronicles of Clovis

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Saki (pseudonym of H. H. Munro), English author, is best known for his witty, sometimes whimsical, often cynical and bizarre short stories; they are collected in Reginald, The Chronicles of Clovis, Beasts and Super-Beasts, and other volumes. Contents of The Chronicles of Clovis include: Esme, The Match-Maker, Tobermory, Mrs. Packletide's Tiger, The Stampeding of Lady Basta ...more
Paperback, 171 pages
Published December 14th 1989 by Penguin Classics (first published 1911)
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Community Reviews

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These remain my favorite short stories of all time. Saki's caustic wit and social subversion are wickedly funny. The central protagonist, Clovis, is a trickster to the bone who can rarely resist an opportunity to upset the social apple cart, even if the fallout lands on himself. While there are other authors who depict a slice of upper class British life in the pre-WWI period, the putative innocence of this age (e.g. in P.G. Wodehouse) is revealed by Saki to have swirling undercurrents of human ...more
I agree with A.A. Milne when, in the introduction to the edition of The Chronicles of Clovis that I own, he writes:

"There are dearly loved books of which we babble to a neighbor at dinner, insisting that she shall share our delight in them; and there are books, equally dear to us, of which we say nothing, fearing lest the praise of others should cheapen our discovery. The books of "Saki" were, for me at least, in the second class."

The same is true for me, and for many others I imagine, because I
A really snarky, condescending book of short stories- most of which have a dark angle or humorously macabre twist (somebody ends up dead in the majority of them...). Each story is told by, or involves, the character "Clovis," your average trouble making rich kid circa the late 19th /early 20th century. You'll wonder what it is you like about Clovis, until you realize he's much like a leprechaun: an amusing deviant with too much money.
Clovis (like Reginald, the other Saki character)is a young man with an attitude. If you like the mischievous wit of Wilde's four comedies, you should try Saki. Between the two of them Wilde and Saki invented trolling. Clovis operates at tea parties, dance parties and lunches in the garden of the mansion etc. He drives everyone who deserves it (and then some) to distraction with his very original verbal wickedness.
I want to BE Clovis - so clever, so wicked, so good at getting away with it!
Having now read The Chronicle of Clovis, I'm left with the desperate desire to see H.H. Munro get into a cat-fight with Oscar Wilde, whose style Saki's owes something of its wit to, though he goes a bit lighter on the decadence than Wilde. I picture the two squaring off - perhaps in a dispute over a literary review, philosophical point, or necktie - with Oscar beating Munro over the head with quippy insults and Munro replying with sly, dry asides. I'd pay good money for a ticket to that.

Julie Davis
When I was young I discovered Saki and read all his stories. Over the years, of course, one comes across a few very popular stories repeatedly. Now I've come across a wonderful podcast, The Clovis Stories by Saki which is working its way through all the Saki stories, beginning with The Chronicles of Clovis. By the time I discovered it, The Chronicles were completed and they had moved on to Beasts and Super-Beasts. But I am listening to a story a day (or so) from the beginning. And enjoying vastl ...more
Scott Holmes
Sep 30, 2012 Scott Holmes is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what to think yet. I must have read some Saki in the past as I know the name. When Goodreads suggested The Complete Saki, I went to Gutenberg and downloaded this book, The Chronicles of Clovis. A.A.Milne's introduction almost turned me off to it as perhaps a bit too precious for me. I even quit reading but went back and looked at a few reviews here on Goodreads. So, I went back and read the rest of Esme', I'd only read the first couple of paragraphs. It certainly did take an O. Henr ...more
I started out really liking Saki’s Chronicles of Clovis, finding the writing style agreeable and the short stories quite funny. The introduction was written by A. A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh, who extolled on the unique writing style of Saki, comparing his command of words to the “private vintage of the connoisseur.” Milne cites “The Background” and “Mrs. Packetide’s Tiger” as the masterpieces of this book, and I totally agree. Both were fun to read and quite humorous.

Saki is the pe
Chris Passingham
Exceptionally well written and very entertaining, laugh out loud funny, but for some reason - maybe it's just the mood I am in - it didn't seem to "do" it for me but that's just me I suppose. I would have given this book four and a half stars but I cant. I would recommend this to anyone
Sep 03, 2011 Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys dry, dark humor mixed with utter ridiculousness.
Shelves: favorites
This book was problematic for me - I "read" it mostly as an audiobook from and partly on my laptop while taking the train to and from Sacramento and Oakland. This means that I was around other people when I was reading this and it was really hard to keep from laughing out loud. I never recommend books to people on the basis of "OMG, it's sooo funny!" and I hate it when people recommend books to me for that reason, but I'm going to break that rule for this book. It's darkly, morbidly ...more
Neil McFarlane
Wonderfully witty, humorous short stories. I only discovered Saki a couple of years ago. I'm very glad I did.
Greg Fanoe
This book is available for free on Project Gutenberg. And most of the stories are really short. So there's really no excuse to not pop over there and read one or two to see if you dig the style.

Personally, I love the simplicity of his writing style, and there's tons of funny lines here. Mostly great (though I have a weakness for detached irony), with some clunkers here and there.

Top 5 Stories: "The Back Ground", "Sredni Vashtar", "The Story of St. Vespaluus", "Mrs. Packletide's Tiger", "Wratisla
Betsy Boo
When you read Saki you just know this guy must've played some awesome practical jokes on his friends.
Douglas Dalrymple
Macabre is probably the word. But so is hilarious. Witty and satirical also figure. Saki’s Chronicles of Clovis has got to be one of the most enjoyable short-story collections I’ve ever read. What happens when a hyena gets loose in the English countryside? Or when a tattoo (still on someone’s back) is purchased by the state as a masterpiece? Or when government ministers are replaced by angels in disguise? Pick up some Saki and find out.
Feb 16, 2012 Kat rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fanarchist
Saki writes like a very charming sociopath (who you find yourself liking, despite your better judgment). Stories range from talking cats named Tobermory, hyenas eating gypsy toddlers(!!!), and children feeding their tiresome minders to badgers. Sometimes it reaches the other end of the spectrum and the casual heartlessness becomes a little too jarring, though. The Introduction by A.A Milne was a fantastic surprise.
Very clever, you can really imagine these stories being told in an arch drawl, such a vivid voice/style throughout the stories. However, I couldn't help feeling that the stories were all about the surface, they lacked substance. I can't resist comparing them to Hemingway's stories, which I think are the opposite, loads of stuff going on beneath the surface...Perhaps I need to read some more Saki...
Ross Beresford
I actually read this book in the EPUB edition at Project Gutenberg. These are amusing stories that stand the test of time pretty well. Mostly of upper class English life around 1900. Favorites include "The Unrest-Cure", "Sredni Vashtar", "Tobermory", and "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".
"And in the sting and misery of
his defeat, he began to chant loudly and defiantly the hymn of his
threatened idol:

Sredni Vashtar went forth,
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white.
His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death.
Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful."
There are dearly loved books of which we babble to a neighbour at dinner, insisting that she shall share our delight in them; and there are books, equally dear to us, of which we say nothing, fearing lest the praise of others should cheapen the glory of our discovery.
Short stories that bite. Clever, but tiresome if read in one sitting. Better in small doses, I think. Actually, I have to also recommend A. A. Milne's introduction to this collection; it gets one in the right mood to read about foolish people saying wise words.
Erick Flaig
Awesome book. Clovis is the gem of the books I have discovered since buying a Kindle. Not all of the short stories herein are outstanding, but the majority are funny and fast-paced. The ones featuring Clovis himself are hilarious. A must read.
Marts  (Thinker)
Quite delightful tales by Saki. I particularly like "Wratislav" and that quote at the end, 'Its other people's consciences that send one abroad in a hurry.' Then there was "Tobermory", "Mrs. Packletide's tiger" and "The Quest".
When he was good, he was very very good, and when he was bad, he was tiresome. (Then I read something brilliant and cheered up!) Some of these stories are rather more like Ambrose Bierce than I remembered.
Some strong stories and some weak ones - Clovis as charming and self absorbed as ever. After completing When William Came in the middle, this seemed a little lacking in heart. Still worthwhile.
If you love Evelyn Waugh (and wish he had written more short stories), go for Saki! Not every single story in this collection will make you laugh mischievously but those that will you won't forget.
A truly delightful collection! My favorites: "The Unrest-Cure," "The Background," "The Story of St. Vespaluus," "The Hounds of Fate," and "Sin of Septimus Brope."
Saki is a great author, and since this particular ebooks is available free for any ereader including your computer or phone I recommend him to anyone.
Paul Foley
Witty, elegant, original, and highly amusing. The humor can be a bit cruel at times but the literary craftsmanship is just wonderful. A real treat.
Beautifully written collection of short stories - witty, quirky and sometimes downright bizarre. Often made me laugh out loud. Highly recommended.
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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
More about Saki...
The Complete Saki The Collected Short Stories of Saki The Open Window The Best of Saki Beasts and Super-Beasts

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“The censorious said she slept in a hammock and understood Yeats's poems, but her family denied both stories.” 13 likes
“And the vagueness of his alarm added to its terrors; when once you have taken the Impossible into your calculations its possibilities become practically limitless.” 10 likes
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