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The Complete Short Stories: Volume One 1944-1953

(Roald Dahl's Short Stories #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  641 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The Complete Short Stories of Roald Dahl in the first of two unsettling and sinister volumes.

'They are brutal, these stories, and yet you finish reading each one with a smile, or maybe even a hollow laugh, certainly a shiver of gratification, because the conclusion always seems so right' Charlie Higson, from his introduction.

Roald Dahl is one of the most popul
Paperback, 596 pages
Published September 12th 2013 by Penguin (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  641 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Some stories are simply amazing but others... boring,"nonsense" and without a proper end. Ok, I like stories in which you can imagine the end yourself...but not like this.

If I had to choose the best story of this collection I'd rather say "Royal Jelly": I had such a good time reading this one.

So...this is not a book to read from cover to cover in a hurry. So many stories to enjoy if you have time to think about them when you finish them.
None bad.
All pretty good, but never loved it.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A brilliant collection of stories that are at the "excellent" end of the "conventional" spectrum of the short story as an artform. What I mean by this is that Dahl rarely or never experiments with form and his subject matter is nearly always orthodox; but that he is an absolute master of this kind of fiction.

This, the first volume of his Complete Short Stories, contains two entire collections, Over to You and Someone Like You as well as two other stories that appeared in later collections.
Mafalda Fernandes
- Katina 4*
- Only This - 5*
- Beware of the Dog - 3*
- An African Story - 3*
- Yesterday was Beautiful - 4*
- A Piece of Cake - 4*
- They Shall Not Grow Old - 4,5*
- Madame Rosesette - 4.5*
- Death of an Old Old Man 4*
- Someone Like You 3*
- The Mildenhall Treasure 4*
- Man from the South 4,5*
- The Sound Machine 4,5*
- Poison 3*
- Taste 5*
- Dip in the Pool 4,5*
- Skin 5*
- My Lady Love, My Dove 4.5*
- L
Amy Westgarth
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
One to take your time over. This book isn't something that can be read cover to cover in one sitting. You need to set aside time to appreciate and absorb each story before moving on.

The quality of writing here is excellent. That cannot be denied. Roald Dahl manages to create the stories around you in a descriptive and at times emotive way, but it's never pretentious. The stories are down to earth and human and you always feel involved with what's going on.

I have to agree with other reviews tha
Eric Stockwell
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Each story is dark, morbid, glib, and ends on its own unique note of dangling existential horror.
Grace Harris
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a good short story
Roald Dahl is probably best known to most people as the children's author behind such classics as 'The BFG', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'Fantastic Mr Fox', 'The Twits' and 'Matilda'. His stories are well known for being funny, odd but intrinsically magical.

But Dahl's adult short stories that the well known TV show 'Tales of the Unexpected' was based on seem to be from a completely different author. They share the humour that Dahl's other works are infused with but often hav
Rabia Bashir
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-favourites
What a collection! Each story took me to a place unknown and kept me there until the end. It was revealing to go to the beginning of Roald's writing career and see why his early work got into literary magazines. I not only read but I studied each story... Picking up on the way he crafts his sentences, his scenes. Look forward to reading the remaining short stories he published!
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love Roald Dahl's short stories, which are surprisingly macabre and uncanny as well as entertaining. His work is very well written, engaging, and often takes a number of unexpected turns. I am always surprised at the depravity of character that Dahl depicts – his sorties often come to very unfortunate, even nightmarish, ends.

This is a great book to dip into at leisure.
May 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: british-read
This book is difficult to rate. Some of the stories in it are boring whilst others are passionate. I particularly enjoyed 'Switch Bitch' because of the unpredictable twists in its plots. 'William and Mary' with its goriness was another of my favourite story in this volume.
Beth Pol
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Dahl writes in a dark and sinister way about things that happen or could be happening behind any closed door. I thoroughly recommend this book as it was a delight to read and easy to pick up! If you would like your child to read this book you should probably read some of them yourself first because a few of them are disturbing. I would, however, recommend picking this read up for anyone else, the wide range of topics and themes means that there is something that everyone can enjoy. If you were a ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A volume of short stories spanning the first decade of Dahl's career. Listed chronologically, the stories show his progression as a writer, beginning with pieces based on war experiences before quickly developing into his signature style of humorous yet slightly unnerving tales. Despite some strange subject matter, the individual stories are unfailingly engaging, as Dahl's writing wastes no time grabbing attention, crafting lifesize characters and building to often unsettling conclusions.
Pia Sophia
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Reading Dahl’s short stories reminds me of why I loved him so much as a kid. Some stories are funny, others make you cringe, sometimes they leave you confused which makes you want to reread the whole thing to find the clue that makes the puzzle complete. Dahl is intense. His words stick with you wherever you go. Which makes this a book you simply cannot read in one sitting. Gift yourself time to let his words sink in, and you’ll get a glimpse of the magic that went on in his genius mind.
Zebardast Zebardast
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 to November 23, 1990) was a British author who penned 19 children's books over his decades-long writing career. In 1953 he published the best-selling story collection Someone Like You and married actress Patricia Neal. He published the popular book James and the Giant Peach in 1961. In 1964 he released another highly successful work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was later adapted for two films.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I feel horrible eating anything Roald Dahl 3 stars, but as another reviewer wrote, this is good, but not great. There were a couple stories I would say I really liked, but again, I’m not raving about them. I’m hoping the second volume is more rave-worthy.
(But seriously, I’m such a fan, that if I thought RD might see this review I’d have to lie. I feel sort of like I’m betraying a friend!)
Joe Hudson
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've had this book sitting in my to read pile for about six years. I've moved house three times and it's stayed sat in the same pile. I just kept putting it off. I regret that so much! Roald Dahl is a fantastic author and is so clever with words. It is amazing to see his writing evolve from his early days in the RAF though to the 60s. Looking forward to reading volume 2 soon!
Jade Jones
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my first introduction to his adult works. I was completely blown away, reading his famous works as a child I have always had a soft spot but I never imagined him to be so brilliant at adult stories. I especially enjoyed the way stories as you can tell they come from experience. Some of the stores were quite creepy but I lived everyone!
Gerry Mander
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most stories were good and left me in a state of needing to pause for a while - just to absorb it all. Some were "meh". But all in all, I found a certain weird level of comfort in the "darkness" of this book. It's all pretty bleak yet comforting at the same time. I do like it a lot for its quirkiness.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although there is a lot of stories I have read in this one, like lamb for slaughter, skin, an African story, and a lot of others , some were still new to me in this book. I especially liked the story Katina and the sound machine of those.
All in all every story has you by the fingertips and won’t let you go, even when you finish them. I recommend it to everyone that is a fan of Dahl.
James Dransfield
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved my first foray into the world of Roald Dahl shorts, Particular favorites where Katina, Beware of the Dog, The Sound Machine, Man from the South, 'Skin' was quite clever and gruesome, loved 'Neck', The Soldier was a brutal tale of PTSD and takes my top spot I think, and Claude's dog finished it off nicely
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love having the whole (first half of the) collection! Dahl’s shirt stories are the best. So clever, unpredictable, and sinister yet oddly satisfying. I enjoyed every story.
Favorites from this collection are:
An African Story
Yesterday was Beautiful
Man from the South
Dip in the Pool
My Lady Love, My Dove
Lamb to the Slaughter
Claud’s Dog (particularly Mr Feasey)
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I feel like I've climbed a mountain now I have finally finished this collection. Overall I only really enjoyed a couple of these early short stories, many I skimmed through. Hopefully the second volume will be filled with more entertaining stories!
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Read 2 of the 3 books in this - Kiss, Kiss and Switch, Bitch. The middle one - I forget the name - was of stories set during WW2. I tried a couple and found them uninteresting but KK and SB are both pretty good!
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Always interesting, fun and a little bit of a strange journey is reading Dahl. These short stories are no exception. From his early days, including those published during WW2, they give great insight to what shaped him and his later fiction.

Well worth a read.
Michelle Sundharam
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A master at creating a visual world for you to get lost in.
Hapsari Darmastuti
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Most of the stories are good and well-written, but only a handful is really truly interesting and memorable. Still enjoyed it overall though.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this very hit and miss. The stories u like we're phenomenal, but some we're very average and some were simply difficult to get through.
Jordan Thomas
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Worth a read, I read it between books. Lots of stories based on his experience in the navy and some can be quite dull. However, there are plenty of little gems in there.
Zizzi Bonah
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
People often forget Roald Dahl wrote for adults as well as children - this is a book I return to again and again for its humour and vivid descriptions.
Dan Bowman
Just not my cup of tea. Did not complete.
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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 ad

Other books in the series

Roald Dahl's Short Stories (2 books)
  • The Complete Short Stories: Volume Two 1954-1988