Reviews of Kiss Kiss (1959)
Review by branko (2003-09-07)
Although I do not consider this the best Dahl collection, it does contain one of my favourite stories, Parson's Pleasure. It combines the author's talent for describing (and inventing!) people with execentric professions or hobbies with his mischievous desire for letting the wicked get their come-uppance.
Therefore, a beautiful balance is provided by the stories The Landlady and Pig, therefore. Sometimes, the wicked get away with it. And sometimes, as in The Champion of the World, it is not even clear anymore who the wicked are.
And those are the best Dahl stories. Stories such as William and Mary, or Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat, in which the bad punish the bad, after some wonderful plot twists. This is the satiricist at his best, leading the reader continuously around the garden path. Films like Snatch or those of Quentin Tarantino may try and take a similar approach, but their humour is never more than that of spotty teenagers. Dahl, however, is clearly a man of the world, and his pranks are always devilishly delicious.
This book has some of Dahl's darker, more macabre stories. I already mentioned The Landlady, and never tell a synopsis of Royal Jelly to an expecting parent! Of course, it never turns into real horror, but there are some goose-bump moments nevertheless. So if you thought that Roald Dahl's other work is perhaps a bit too light-hearted, this may be the book for you.