The Best of Saki

Front Cover
Pan Books, 1976 - Fiction - 250 pages
5 Reviews

No writer has combined laughter with savagery more devastatingly than Saki. Though he died nearly ninety years ago, the blackness of his comedy is contemporary and his wit has lost none of its freshness and sparkle.

At Edwardian tea tables, his elegant characters defend themselves against a malignant Nature waiting to kill and maim. As Tom Sharpe says, ‘Step out through the French windows and you are in the realms of Pan . . .’

This selection of the best of Saki’s stories gives a new generation the opportunity to be dazzlingly entertained – and to discover a rare and original contribution to English literature.

‘Start a Saki story and you will finish it. Finish one and you will start another, and having finished them all you will never forget them. They remain an addiction because they are much more than funny’ Tom Sharpe

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fist - LibraryThing

What a delightful find. Saki is clearly the heir of Oscar Wilde, with similar acerbic wit honed with fine psychological observations. One wonders what kind of writer he could have become had WWI not ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jorgearanda - LibraryThing

A collection of short stories for and about the rich Edwardian British classes, filled with dark humor and unbearably thin and trivial characters. Like Wilde without the genius. However, a few of the stories do bite beautifully and painfully. Read full review

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About the author (1976)

H. H. Munro, better known as "Saki," was born in Burma, the son of an inspector-general for the Burmese police. Sent to England to be educated at the Bedford Grammar School, he returned to Burma in 1893 and joined the police force there. In 1896, he returned again to England and began writing first for The Westminster Gazette and then as a foreign correspondent for The Morning Post. Best known for his wry and amusing stories, Saki depicts a world of drawing rooms, garden parties, and exclusive club rooms. His short stories at their best are extraordinarily compact and cameolike, wicked and witty, with a careless cruelty and a powerful vein of supernatural fantasy. They deal, in general, with the same group of upper-class Britishers, whose frivolous lives are sometimes complicated by animals---the talking cat who reveals their treacheries in love, the pet ferret who is evil incarnate. The nom de plume "Saki" was borrowed from the cupbearer in Omar Khayyam's (see Vol. 2) The Rubaiyat. Munro used it for political sketches contributed to the Westminster Gazette as early as 1896, later collected as Alice in Westminster. The stories and novels were published between that time and the outbreak of World War I, when he enlisted as a private, scorning a commission. He died of wounds from a sniper's bullet while in a shell hole near Beaumont-Hamel. One of his characters summed up Saki's stories as those that "are true enough to be interesting and not true enough to be tiresome.

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