Melanti's Reviews > Fifty-One Tales

Fifty-One Tales by Lord Dunsany
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's review
Jan 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, e-book, classics, anthology

Aha. So this is why Dunsany always gets listed with the Weird Fiction authors!

I wasn't entirely enamored with his longer fiction -- while they were good, I just didn't see where/what influenced and continues to influence so many writers I adore. I could see little bits and pieces, but it didn't fully make sense - especially for Lovecraft.

But here! Here's Lovecraft's trick of crafting entire stories that may not have a plot but set excellent moods. Here's "Charon", the precursor to Neil Gaiman's "Nicholas Was...". I finally get it now.

This is fifty one extremely short stories - none longer than three or four pages, one as short as two sentences. There's a few that just fade into the background, most are excellent, and a few are absolutely fantastic.

There is a pastoral theme in quite a few of the stories with numerous references to cities vanishing under the weight of time and people returning to the country. It was published in 1915, just shy of a year after WWI broke out. So it must have been written either in the extremely tense period right before the war, or in the first few months of fighting. So a pastoral ideal isn't completely unexpected.

This is a wonderful collection - his strength is definitely in the shorter form stories rather than longer novels!
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