Friday, April 11, 2008

all about Saki

Saki, the writer known parenthetically as H. H. Munro, delivered his short stories quickly. Often in five printed pages or fewer. His work, being in the public domain, can be read online. Wikipedia lists several places to go.

If a book is preferred, check the local bookmobile for the Modern Library edition which is almost as compact as one of Saki's stories. It includes a biography by his sister which is not as brief as his stories but does start very promisingly:

My earliest recollection of Hector, my younger brother, was in the nursery at home, where, with my elder brother, Charlie, we had been left alone. Hector seized the long-handled hearth brush, plunged it into the fire, and chased Charlie and me round the table, shouting, "I'm God! I'm going to destroy the world!"

If those are Munro's first remembered words, his last ones were: "Put that damned cigarette out!" [supposedly said before his being dispatched by a German sniper in World War I]

In between are the stories he wrote as Saki. Darkly ironic ones like "The Interlopers" and "The Easter Egg" and funny ironic ones like "Shock Tactics" and "The Schartz-Metterklume Method".

Anyhow, when doing not doing something useful or necessary (like watching episodes of Kung Fu or Hawaii Five-0 on DVD), I'm reading these.

They go by fast.


Katherine said...

Saki...I wonder if his nom-de-plume is a pun on *dry* wit... he's marvelous isn't he?!

K. R. Seward said...

Yes, he is.

Tho' a thoroughly lightweight reader, I've persisted in reading more of his work. My most recent favorite is "The Occasional Garden".