Roald Dahl is, needless to say, best known as the author of books for children. This collection of short stories is easy on the whizzpopping, frumpets, and strawbunkies, but his subtly sinister grown-up world is equally enthralling.
The beauty of Dahl’s short stories is his innate talent for saying the most when he says nothing at all. Massive chunks of story line are told through every ellipsis, of which there are many. Rather than telling you exactly what is happening, Dahl creates the setting, throws in a few hints about his characters, and leaves you to deduce the rest.
Another aspect that makes these stories so enjoyable is his ability to impart a sense of impending doom for every character. They may have sinned, have misbehaved, but when their comeuppance comes a-calling, we cringe and gasp as they are served their just desserts.
Kiss Kiss also features the short story The Champion of the World, a precursor to his novel Danny, the Champion of the World. Re-reading the story with an adult edge, discovering where those notions and words were conceived, was like reading Danny for the first time all over again.
Though it is not part of this collection, you can read Dahl’s short story The Man From the South here. It’s a personal favourite and if you’ve seen Tarantino’s section of Four Rooms, you may well recognise it.