I have never written a review for a group of short stories…so this is gonna be a challenge and a half…
Most of you probably know Roald Dahl because of his children’s books – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, among others. What most people tend to not know is that he also had a wonderful career writing short stories, which were not as safe for younger children to read as one might expect from him.
My first encounter with Dahl’s short stories was a collection called Switch Bitch, which was compromised of four short stories about sex and adultery. I bought as many of his short story collections as I could after that, and this is the first that I’ve read of them.
Skin and other stories has eleven stories in it, all of them seemingly leading in one direction and then quickly veering off into another. There isn’t really a common theme in them except for appearances deceiving what’s really beneath every surface. In my opinion, the best ones were the title story, Skin, Lamb to the Slaughter and The Surgeon. The stories have no real common link between them, except that the first two deal with death in some shape or form. All three, however, take on a bit of a turn that I wasn’t expecting, and deliver Dahl’s witty, sometimes dry, humour in a wonderful way.
Dahl’s writing even manages to fluctuate from story to story, showing the mark of a true author. He doesn’t have just the one style of writing, and while you can pinpoint his obvious little quirks in language, he is also capable of changing voice from character to character very easily, making each short story unique with each new character he introduces.
Final rating: 5/5. Ideal for a light read cuddled up with a mug of hot chocolate, and a quick break from heavier literature, while still being a great read in its own right.