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Collected Short Stories of Saki (Wordsworth…
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Collected Short Stories of Saki (Wordsworth Classics) (original 1930; edição 1999)

por Hector Hugh Munro (Autor)

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1,2731811,071 (4.13)29
The buttoned-up world of the British upper classes is exploded by the brilliance, wit and audacity of Saki's bomb-like stories. In 'The Open Window' an imaginative teenager gives a visitor the fright of his life. In 'The Unrest Cure' the ordered home of a respectable country gent is rocked to its core. And 'Laura' expresses the hope of revenge via reincarnation. For punchlines, twists, satire and pure mirth, Saki's stories are second-to-none.… (mais)
Título:Collected Short Stories of Saki (Wordsworth Classics)
Autores:Hector Hugh Munro (Autor)
Informação:Wordsworth Editions Ltd (1999), Edition: New Ed, 512 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Short Stories of Saki por Saki (1930)

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I don't own this book but anytime I read a Saki story, I track it here.

~ The Open Window (1911) 4*
Humorous Visitor was tricked into thinking homeowner left window open for missing husband to come home, caused him to be spooked when he did

~ The Cobweb (1914) - 2019 - 3.5* short story.
The wife of the current owner of a family farmhouse daydreams of claiming a bit of the home for herself, in particular the beautiful sitting window in the kitchen. But with the home comes an old woman who has been working in the home for decades. How can she possibly claim something that has been the domain of another for so long? No matter, the husband dies and the woman is forced to move on as the farmhouse goes to the next relative. That part spoke to me and spoke louder than the "horror" part of the story which was the old lady's premonition with a twist.

I liked the reading between the lines it caused in me, regarding the "shadows" of owners past, their brief stays in the homes, rarely documented but they were there. People living their lives, working their asses off, raising their families, making their plans.

I got to live in a 250 year old farmhouse in my early teens. It was memorable, I could see the shadows of the former owners everywhere.

~ Sredni Vashtar (1910) - 2019 - 4* short story An ill orphan boy living with an unkind pious aunt carves out a bit of a sanctuary for himself. In this haven, he prays to a different god, Sredni Vashtar, a ferret. His aunt tries to take away his sanctuary ... Here are some free sources
Free audio: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sredni_vashtar_saki_tpk.ogg
Free version: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Clovis/Sredni_Vashtar

~ Gabriel-Ernest (1909) - Spotify/Podcastle - Jan 2020 - 4* Narrator did a fantastic job. The reveals of the story were fun and well done. I'll never skip one of his stories as I come across them. from wiki: "Gabriel-Ernest" starts with a warning: "There is a wild beast in your woods..." As the story progresses, we learn from that Gabriel is indeed wild, feral – a werewolf in fact. The story uses the idea of lycanthropy as a metaphor for adolescence. The story's climax is when Gabriel is revealed to have taken a small child home from Sunday school. A pursuit ensues but Gabriel and the child disappear near a river. The only items found are the clothes of Gabriel and the two are never seen again.

~ Down Pens (1914) - Feb 2020 - 2* From a time gone by. A couple sick of writing so many letters that aren't really truthful, "thank-you for the calendar, we love it", daydream of ways to get out of the need.
  Seayla2020 | Nov 21, 2020 |
Complete and utter trite.

Avoid at all costs. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |

Royal Academy of Art in London, one of the top art museums in the world

I highly recommend Saki: Short Stories and suggest you turn immediately to this particular short story as your very first in the collection since it addresses one of the most important aspects of life: one's attitude toward art and art museums.

After having taken a stroll through the rooms of London's Royal Academy of Art, Reginald's comments on various subjects ranging from art and life to society and the aesthetic experience, One could use Reginald's pithy observations as a foundation for formulating an entire philosophy of art. And I'm not kidding! If you possess an interest in the more theoretical aspects of art and creativity but don't have the time to read Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Reid or Burke, this little Saki tale will fill in the gaps. Luxuriate in everything Reginald and pass the word. Here's the story in its entirety:

“One goes to the Academy in self-defence,” said Reginald. “It is the one topic one has in common with the Country Cousins.”

“It is almost a religious observance with them,” said the Other. “A kind of artistic Mecca, and when the good ones die they go” –

“To the Chantrey Bequest. The mystery is what they find to talk about in the country.”

“There are two subjects of conversation in the country: Servants, and Can fowls be made to pay? The first, I believe, is compulsory, the second optional.”

“As a function,” resumed Reginald, “the Academy is a failure.”

“You think it would be tolerable without the pictures?”

“The pictures are all right, in their way; after all, one can always LOOK at them if one is bored with one’s surroundings, or wants to avoid an imminent acquaintance.”

“Even that doesn’t always save one. There is the inevitable female whom you met once in Devonshire, or the Matoppo Hills, or somewhere, who charges up to you with the remark that it’s funny how one always meets people one knows at the Academy. Personally, I DON’T think it funny.”

“I suffered in that way just now,” said Reginald plaintively, “from a woman whose word I had to take that she had met me last summer in Brittany.”

“I hope you were not too brutal?”

“I merely told her with engaging simplicity that the art of life was the avoidance of the unattainable.”

“Did she try and work it out on the back of her catalogue?”

“Not there and then. She murmured something about being ‘so clever.’ Fancy coming to the Academy to be clever!”

“To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening.”

“Which reminds me that I can’t remember whether I accepted an invitation from you to dine at Kettner’s to-night.”

“On the other hand, I can remember with startling distinctness not having asked you to.”

“So much certainty is unbecoming in the young; so we’ll consider that settled. What were you talking about? Oh, pictures. Personally, I rather like them; they are so refreshingly real and probable, they take one away from the unrealities of life.”

“One likes to escape from oneself occasionally.”

“That is the disadvantage of a portrait; as a rule, one’s bitterest friends can find nothing more to ask than the faithful unlikeness that goes down to posterity as oneself. I hate posterity–it’s so fond of having the last word. Of course, as regards portraits, there are exceptions.”

“For instance?”

“To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to heaven prematurely.”

“With the necessary care and impatience, you may avoid that catastrophe.”

“If you’re going to be rude,” said Reginald, “I shall dine with you to-morrow night as well. The chief vice of the Academy,” he continued, “is its nomenclature. Why, for instance, should an obvious trout-stream with a palpable rabbit sitting in the foreground be called ‘an evening dream of unbeclouded peace,’ or something of that sort?”

“You think,” said the Other, “that a name should economise description rather than stimulate imagination?”

“Properly chosen, it should do both. There is my lady kitten at home, for instance; I’ve called it Derry.”

“Suggests nothing to my imagination but protracted sieges and religious animosities. Of course, I don’t know your kitten” –

“Oh, you’re silly. It’s a sweet name, and it answers to it– when it wants to. Then, if there are any unseemly noises in the night, they can be explained succinctly: Derry and Toms.”

“You might almost charge for the advertisement. But as applied to pictures, don’t you think your system would be too subtle, say, for the Country Cousins?”

“Every reformation must have its victims. You can’t expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal’s return. Another darling weakness of the Academy is that none of its luminaries must ‘arrive’ in a hurry. You can see them coming for years, like a Balkan trouble or a street improvement, and by the time they have painted a thousand or so square yards of canvas, their work begins to be recognised.”

“Someone who Must Not be Contradicted said that a man must be a success by the time he’s thirty, or never.”

“To have reached thirty,” said Reginald, “is to have failed in life.”

Rabbit with Drum on display in the courtyard of the Royal Academy. One can only wonder what Reginald would have made of such a work of art. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
I started this collection thinking of Saki as a more transparently malicious version of P.G. Wodehouse; he eviscerates pompous society women in a few pen-strokes. The cruelty is always justified by character defect or wrong behavior on the part of the person being skewered, and the lively children (or perpetual-adolescents) — friends of animals — always prevail. I agree with one critic, quoted in the biography of Saki by E.M. Munro: "Munro's understanding of children can only be explained by the fact that he was in many ways a child himself: his sketches betray a harshness, a love of practical jokes, a craze for animals of the most exotic breeds, a lack of mellow geniality that hint very strongly at the child in the man. Manhood has but placed in his hands a perfect sense of irony and withheld all other adult traits."

Some of the these stories are masterful. In a few sentences, Saki paints a few characters with precision and sets up a conflict into which the antagonist wanders, usually unaware, with hilarious results.

How do I feel about the collection? The antagonists are often women (although girls are in a different category, apparently), and Saki skewers suffragettes, in particular, with regularity. It is certainly easier to find this humorous now that I can vote, although I admit those weren't my favorite stories. To me the autocratic aunts which haunt these stories and which are drawn from Munro's life seem sad, rather than powerful, making the casual cruelty toward them in bad taste. Am I imagining something that isn't there, or does the sadness come from Saki himself? In 'Excepting Mrs. Pentherby' Saki describes a communal country house where many couples reside for a season, sharing expenses. The house owner hires a woman to be annoying so that everybody's wives quarrel with her and there isn't a constantly shifting set of alliances. This is basically the plot of every reality show ever. At the end, the scheme is revealed to the owner's sister-in-law, who expresses one last burst of anger at the hired woman, but also at her brother-in-law, which Saki tries to deflect ("I think you are the most odious person in the whole world," said Reggie's sister-in-law. Which was not strictly true; more than anybody, more than ever she disliked Mrs. Pentherby. It was impossible to calculate how many quarrels that women had done her out of.) This is not a great, successful, story — the sister-in-law is not ridiculous enough to have deserved the prank, and the entire thing relies on one's supposed assumption that women (more than men) like to quarrel with each other. At the end I felt badly for the sister in law, which was obviously not the stated intention, although that emotion comes from the way that the sister-in-law is portrayed as mostly blameless.

This is the first Saki that I've read, and It probably would have been smarter to start off with a smaller curated collection. But this large volume piqued my interest, and I believe those less-well-known stories gave me a better glimpse of the author. ( )
1 vote bexaplex | Aug 14, 2018 |
I found that Saki's humor worked better for me when I read his short stories than listening to them in audio. Frederick Davidson & Nadia May did an acceptable job narrating (though Davidson was not as good as May)... ( )
  leslie.98 | Oct 15, 2016 |
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The buttoned-up world of the British upper classes is exploded by the brilliance, wit and audacity of Saki's bomb-like stories. In 'The Open Window' an imaginative teenager gives a visitor the fright of his life. In 'The Unrest Cure' the ordered home of a respectable country gent is rocked to its core. And 'Laura' expresses the hope of revenge via reincarnation. For punchlines, twists, satire and pure mirth, Saki's stories are second-to-none.

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