Reading Roald: Deliciously creepy short stories

Muslimah with a pencil

dahl

It felt like a cockroach had crawled across my brain. How could these words have been written by the pen that inked James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG? This was my first encounter with a Roald Dahl short story.

And then I remembered: The Witches. An orphan boy, told tales by his grandmother of witches with deformed feet, bald heads and a hatred of children. Dark and sinister, the clue that the story was written for children evident mainly by the happy ending. It made sense to me then. The Roald Dahl of my childhood is the same as the Dahl of my adolescence and adulthood, appropriately creepy to suit any stage of life.

Paging through the Penguin anthology of Ten Short Stories by Roald Dahl, I looked closer at the creepiness that seemed to be ramped up a notch…

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