Title: Kiss Kiss
Author: Roald Dahl
First published January 1, 1959
231 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9780140018325 (ISBN10: 0140018328)
In his collection of short stories, Kiss Kiss, Roald Dahl delves into the twisted and malevolent aspects of the human psyche. Originally published in 1960, these 11 macabre tales will take you on a journey to the unexpected and unsettling.
Many of the stories have been adapted for television, including William and Mary which was featured on Roald’s American television show ‘Way Out’ and several others which appeared on British television in the 1980s for the series Tales of the Unexpected. The Champion of the World, included in this collection, introduces the character who later becomes Danny’s father in Danny the Champion of the World.
With stories such as The Landlady, The Way up to Heaven, and Royal Jelly, Kiss Kiss is a spine-chilling read that will leave you questioning the darker side of humanity.
About the Author
Roald Dahl, a British novelist and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, gained worldwide recognition in the 1940s for his works for both children and adults. His first published work, Shot Down Over Libya, was inspired by a meeting with C.S. Forester.
The story, which was about his wartime experiences, was bought by the Saturday Evening Post for $900 and launched his writing career. The title of the story was misleading and sensationalized, claiming that he had been shot down instead of simply landing due to low fuel.
Dahl’s first children’s book, The Gremlins, was commissioned by Walt Disney for a movie that was never produced and published in 1943. The book featured mischievous creatures that were part of RAF folklore.
Dahl went on to write several popular children’s stories, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach.
He also had a successful career writing macabre short stories for adults, which often had a dark sense of humor and a surprise ending. Many of these stories were originally written for American magazines, such as The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Playboy, and were later collected into anthologies.
Dahl wrote over 60 short stories, and some were only published in book form after his death. His stories won him three Edgar Awards: one in 1954 for the collection Someone Like You, one in 1959 for the story “The Landlady,” and one in 1980 for the episode of Tales of the Unexpected based on “Skin.”
Roald Dahl, one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time, also had a darker side to his writing. His collection of short stories, Kiss Kiss, published in 1959, showcases his twisted and macabre imagination.
The stories in Kiss Kiss are not for the faint of heart. They are filled with murder, revenge, and other gruesome themes that will surely make your skin crawl.
However, Dahl’s exceptional writing and storytelling abilities are impossible to ignore. His mastery of the macabre is second to none, leaving readers disturbed, yet thoroughly entertained.
The opening story, “The Landlady,” sets the tone for the rest of the book. The story follows a young man who arrives in Bath and finds a seemingly pleasant bed and breakfast.
However, things quickly take a dark turn when he realizes the landlady has a fascination with stuffing her pets. The suspenseful build-up and disturbing ending make this one of Dahl’s most memorable stories.
In “William and Mary,” Dahl explores the concept of life after death in a way only he can. The story follows William, a man who dies but is brought back to life by a scientist who has developed a revolutionary technique for reanimating the brain.
However, things don’t quite go according to plan, and William’s wife, Mary, has to deal with the consequences.
One of the standout stories in the collection is “The Way Up to Heaven.” Dahl’s portrayal of Mrs.
Foster’s obsessive need to be punctual, and her husband’s cruel teasing is both humorous and unsettling. The ending takes a wickedly satisfying turn that will leave readers chuckling with glee.
Dahl’s ability to balance the gruesome and the humorous is what makes Kiss Kiss so extraordinary. He tells stories of tragic consequences while still finding moments of levity that make the reader pause and laugh.
While the stories in Kiss Kiss were written over 60 years ago, they still hold up as some of the most engrossing and unsettling tales of suspense ever written. They are an excellent reminder of Dahl’s skill as a storyteller and his ability to create vivid characters that readers will not soon forget.
If you’re a fan of horror and suspense, Kiss Kiss is a must-read. However, if you’re faint of heart or easily disturbed, it might be best to steer clear.
Overall, Kiss Kiss is a collection of twisted and haunting stories that are not for everyone, but those who appreciate Dahl’s unique brand of dark humor will find this collection to be his best. Dahl’s writing leaves a lasting impression, and his ability to provoke a wide range of emotions is unparalleled.
A true master of his craft.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars.