Friday, 14 July 2017

The Best of Saki

The Best of SakiThe Best of Saki by Saki
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Appachan had tried to make me read Saki. I just listened to some stories narrated by Appachan and never the author himself. This meant that i would know the answer to that question in all quizzes: 'What is Saki's real name' without having read a single story by him. Then in one of our English textbooks was the first story in this collection - 'The Open Window'. One thing that i learned reading Saki is that he did not want women to vote. He mocks the suffragette at least twice in this collection itself.
In 'The East Wing,' when fire breaks out:
'I suppose it is another case of suffragette militancy,' said the Canon. 'I'm in favour of women having the vote myself, even if, as some theologians assert, they have no soul. That, indeed, would furnish an additional argument for including them in the electorate, so that all sections of the community, the soulless and he souled, might be represented.'
Yeah right.
In 'The Open Window,' I felt that he should have omitted the last line of the story. 'Romance at short notice was her speciality'. I liked another story called 'The Dusk', in which a man gets conned. Saki is light reading.
In 'The East Wing', i liked this sentence.
'The house is on fire,' said the Canon, with the air of one who lends dignity to a fact by according it gracious recognition'
This is how upper caste people talk. Also men while mansplaining and in general.
Then in 'The Lumber Room' there is a boy who hides in the lumber room to piss his aunt off. 'It was probably the first time for twenty years that anyone had smiled in that lumber room.'
How sweet! The lumber room must have been so lonely, never seeing a smile for so many years.
I liked the last line in ‘The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat’, which is a story about a woman who wants to do charity. The cat is mentioned in the beginning and in the end like this,
‘But then he had killed his sparrow.’
In ‘The Image of the Lost Soul,’ the one in which a bird takes shelter under the image of the lost soul, there is a line which made me smile.
‘…the brighteyed bird would return, twitter a few sleepy notes,’
It must have been the first time in a long time that I heard twitter being used to mention what it means and not the site.
The phrase, ‘catch-as-catchcan’ or ‘catch-as-catch-can.’
In ‘The Interlopers,’ is again an ending which I liked. I don’t remember what the story was anymore and too lazy to turn the pages back and see. Anyway it’s these two men, who are stuck in a position from which they can’t move, waiting for help to come. It ends like this.
‘Who are they?’ asked Georg quickly, straining his eyes to see what the other would gladly not have seen.
A nice way of putting it in ‘Fate:’
‘For a few months he had been assistant editor and business manager of a paper devoted to fancy mice,…’
Ah, an idea for a picture series in ‘On Approval.’ Someone must have done it already.
‘His pictures always represented some well-known street or public place in London, fallen into decay and denuded of its human population, in the place of which there roamed a wild fauna, which, from its wealth of exotic species, must have originally escaped from zoological gardens and travelling beast shows. ‘Giraffes drinking at the fountain pools, Trafalgar Square,’ was one of the most notable and characteristic of his studies, while even more sensational was the gruesome picture of ‘vultures attacking dying camel in Upper Berkeley Street.’

The Best of Saki: Cover


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