saki

On Our Bookshelves:
The Unrest-Cure And Other Stories

NOVEL: The Unrest-Cure And Other Stories

AUTHOR: Saki

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2013

REVIEW:

That’s Saki, not sake…you don’t drink it with Japanese food, you read it, slowly, savoring it, sip by sip, and story by story.  This collection is as good a place to start as any to enjoy the brilliant skewering of the absurdity and hypocrisy of Edwardian England; the addition of illustrations by Edward Gorey was a rather inspired pairing in this volume by the New York Review of Books.

If you’ve read any of these stories before, The Open Window is the most likely candidate, as it has been much-anthologized, but it’s worth a repeat.  Besides the romance at short notice, you’ll also encounter polite and chillingly amoral English dandies, perfectly feral children, nature red in tooth and claw, an element of the macabre, and the casual cruelty of aunts, blackmailers, and a tomcat who had been (rather unwisely) taught to speak English.  One of my favorites, The Interlopers, is not included in this collection, but that’s a mere quibble.  If you like what you find here, you can always seek out the original collections (Beasts and Super-Beasts is a particularly good volume), as Saki was a master of the short story.  (I’d advise against his novels, actually.  They’re largely forgotten now, and for good reason.)

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): Four Whistles

HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon

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ALSO ON OUR BOOKSHELVES:

Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan

Bunker Hill, Nathan Philbrick

Burmese Days, George Orwell

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rose Madder, Stephen King

The Dancer of Izu, Kawabata Yasunari

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce

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Art Courtesy of New York Review Book Classics

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Laura LaVelle can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com