Friday, March 8, 2019

Dahl Study: Man from the South

My author study of Roald Dahl started with a reading of his Collected Stories while watching the accompanying episode of Tales of the Unexpected. Each Friday I'll recap a story and show (with spoilers, just so you know), but I encourage you to read and watch them on your own if you're interested!

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"Man from the South" from Collected Stories (read 12/27/18)

The suspenseful build-up of this story is very well done. I knew the story from Four Rooms, which Tarantino adapted as "The Man from Hollywood" - but the ending of the film is drastically different! I was waiting for that ending, so the suspense might have been ramped up a bit for me. It made the "real" ending seem like a little bit of a letdown, especially after being on the edge of my seat for the bulk of the story. It still has a nice twist at the end, though.

The start of the story had a Salinger-ish feel to it, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in particular. It's interesting to read Dahl's children's books with energy and adventure and nonsensical words, and then read a straight-forward story with tension and little emotion.

"Man from the South" from Tales of the Unexpected (viewed 12/31/18)

Introduced by Dahl, he explains that he only writes two short stories a year because he knows he has to keep the reader's attention for every second, or else he's "dead".

The story is followed exactly, even really filmed in Jamaica. The suspense during the lighter scene had my heart pounding even though I knew what would happen. That's the sign of a good writer and a powerful story - not dependent on a hook or twist ending that keeps you from enjoying it on repeated readings/viewings (ala The Sixth Sense). Very well done.

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