The Umbrella Man and Other Stories

The Umbrella Man and Other Stories

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by Roald Dahl
     
 

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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.See more details below

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW called the 13 tales here, all of which previously appeared in collections for adult readers, "Dahl at his merciless best." Ages 12-up. (July) n Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
VOYA - Richard Gercken
Purportedly chosen to appeal to young readers, these thirteen stories have few young characters and lack that special Dahl-ian (who is now deceased) appeal of children turning the tables on parents or other adults. Most of the stories do contain Dahl's surprise twist for an end, however; in fact, more than one offer the oxymoron of a predictable surprise. The long story Katina contains remarkable, concise description and sustains a wartime mood. The Way Up to Heaven portrays with conviction a mousy wife dominated by her husband, but overall the stories tend to be short on setting, character, and development. The Umbrella Man and the thirty-three-page Parson's Pleasures are essentially anecdotes. Dahl's wicked humor is usually present along with considerable suspense and bizarre subjects, like bees and their secretion of royal jelly, which one can imagine no other writer taking on as springboards. But one problem in Dahl's writing is particularly evident in Vengeance is Mine, Inc. The story is set in America and has all American characters, but the characters talk about paraffin stoves and the late afternoon post. While young adults who are good, habitual readers might enjoy the plots and the turnarounds, most American teens will not be galvanized by stories whose narrative lines feature the value of fur coats, collecting antique furniture, boarding houses in Bath, or vintage wines. Though the publisher classifies the reading level as young adult, even the dust jacket seems more suitable for children, or adults, than young adults. This book was originally published in England as The Great Automatic Grammatizator. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Here's another collection of Dahl's adult stories carefully selected for the teenage crowd who have grown beyond the author's raffish novels for youngsters. The same wry intelligence is obviously behind these tales. Most of them are sly put-ons waiting for the inevitable comeuppance of their slightly shady, or sometimes too innocent, characters. Dahl always wrote well, though, and in "Katrina," a story gleaned from his fighter pilot experience in Greece during World War II, his descriptions turn evocative and moving. These are the sort of stories one means to put down, then finds oneself inexplicably in the middle of the next.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Readers who were turned on to chapter books with the magic of Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970) and the wondrous James and the Giant Peach (1961, both Knopf) will be interested to discover that Dahl began his writing career composing adult short stories--macabre, ironic tales that were translated into scripts for a popular TV series. This collection, based on those tales, is perfect for teen sensibilities. These poisonous gems reflect a British black humor sniping at greedy, pretentious folk. The language is precise, without an extraneous adjective; "The Landlady" is indeed "terribly nice" and Lady Turton of "Neck" prances and snorts like a barely restrained high-strung filly. Teachers looking for examples of irony need look no further than "Parson's Pleasure," in which an overeager antique collector gets exactly what he asks for. Feminists may be a bit offended; Dahl's antipathy for the female sex is rather evident throughout the stories. Wife and family are often an encumbrance in his world. "Royal Jelly" stars a father who is overinvolved in the caring for and feeding of his new offspring; it is a delicious morsel to serve to grown up "Goosebumps" fans. This baker's dozen is a treat for all YA collections.-Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
Kirkus Reviews
A baker's dozen of barbed, witty, obliquely macabre short stories, most drawn fromþor at least previously published inþTales of the Unexpected (1979, 1990). Additionally, there is a heart-rending wartime story of a young Greek orphan adopted by a beleaguered RAF squadron, a hilarious tale of two airheads who decide to make a fortune from grateful socialites by punching a gossip columnist in the nose, and "The Great Automatic Grammatizator," a period piece about a primitive computer that whips out hugely profitable novels and stories in minutes. Nearly every story ends with a twist: a scam revealed or going wrong; a sinister revelation; or, as in the final entry, "Neck," a sudden conclusion that derails carefully established expectations. Several stories show their age in dated details, or are slow to develop, and younger fans may find many of the conversations as tedious as the lengthy, satirically exact speeches about bees, wine, and antique furniture. Still, this sampler of Dahl's writing at least conveys a sense of his versatility. (Short stories. 13+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101636282
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
06/20/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
1
Sales rank:
427,779
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

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