Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fifty-One Tales (Lord Dunsany)

Fifty-One Tales
Lord Dunsany
Public Domain Books
Fiction, Collection/Fantasy
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: The call of the Muses haunts a man, a pair of strangers ask the way to Stonehenge, a man entertains an invisible dinner guest, a worker's ghost returns to visit a poet who witnessed his death, the true story of the Tortoise and the Hare... these and more vignettes play out in a collection of short stories by the famed Irish author Lord Dunsany.

REVIEW: With a poetic voice that doesn't strive to alienate (unlike some older works I've read), Dunsany's tales are more like vignettes than short stories, brief glimpses of imagery and emotion that suggest larger tales. Many are only one page long, so even the most confusing story never overstays its welcome. Not all of them made sense, but the dreamlike nature and hints of wit carried these stories along. There are common themes running through many of them, which occasionally grew tedious, but I've read far worse, with far less subtle Messages. After clawing through E. M. Forster's dense prose, I gave Dunsany the benefit of the doubt with a solid Good rating. (At the very least, unlike Forster, I can see myself tackling more of Dunsany's works in the future.)

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