fairy tale


I was sitting on an airplane with a copy of “Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl” when an elegant woman in the seat next to me murmured, almost to herself, “I live just down the lane from his old cottage in Oxfordshire.” Turning to her with excitement I asked if she’d ever run into him. “Oh, no, no,” she said with obvious amusement, as if the very suggestion was completely absurd. “He was a great writer,” she said, sounding very genuine. Yet she had a puzzled expression on her face. She asked me what I did for a living. I said I wrote books for grown-ups and children, just like Dahl. There was an awkward silence. We parted ways. For those who do not know Dahl’s grown-up stories, one of his most beloved — if I may use that word — is called “Pig” (1959), about an orphan raised by a tender, vegetarian aunt. The boy’s talents as a young vegetarian chef are depicted in a magical, mystical tone. When the aunt dies, the boy buries her and goes to the city where he encounters, gasp … pork! He loves it, and ends up with his throat slit by a butcher. Pure horror.

more from Donald Sturrock at the LAT here.