Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two Fables, by Roald Dahl

(hb; 1986: story anthology. Illustrations by Graham Dean.)

From the inside flap:

"In these two new fables, Roald Dahl has once again written startlingly original stories that, while owing something to the clarity of his writing for children, are firmly intended for adults. In 'The Princess and the Poacher,' the beastially ugly Hengist is granted a dark wish, but cannot bring himself to fulfill it. In 'Princess Mammalia,' Mammalia is driven to attempt murder when her beauty dazzles every man in the kingdom except the one she truly wants."


These two fables ("The Princess and the Poacher" and "Princess Mammalia") exhibit everything a fable should: a fast-moving story that effectively sketches out and defines its characters' motivations; a tale that's light on the surface, with undercurrents of twisty, character-based darkness, as well as a finish that, without seeming too obvious, sums up its shown moral(s).

Graham Dean's ink-blot, character-centric illustrations suit the tone of Dahl's tales: salient and sublime work that cuts to the core.

Two Fables is a perfect, short read - worth owning, and memorable.

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