> torek, maj 16, 2006
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Roald Dahl: Vicar of Nibbleswicke

Unforgettable, that's what you are
Unforgettable though near or far

-- Nat King Cole (1951)

Unforgettable, that's what Roald Dahl is to me.
I often wake up in the morning with an image from some of his books, a verse from one of his poems (it's usually the Teve song), some mischief of some of his characters, and an illustration by Quentin Blake. My blood starts circulating faster, I start to sweat and I go into a scintillating mode. I can't say that Dahl's books feel exactly lovely, but then they don't do much harm either. They wake me up.

Roald Dahl is one of the greatest.
What I find interesting about Roald Dahl (born 1916) is that he hadn't written books ever since; no, he was a pilot fighter in the WW2 where he almost died in a plane crash. It was only then at the age of 26 when he discovered the joy of writing and engaged himself professionally into it. Success came gradually on and at the age of 44 he achieved a world fame with children stories such as James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He died at the age of 74, spending many prolific (fruitful) years, "and never," as Quentin Blake says: "having lost his concern for people and his passionate belief in the importance of reading."
He is best known for his offbeat (unconventional) children books. I am very passionate about them, but not as much as a girl I once knew who read Matilda many times and even played Matilda in a school play. She seemed like having fancied the idea to be very matilda-like. I think I know her feelings, despite that I am a boy.
Dahl, however, also wrote adult fiction. Below is his book list, sorted into 3 bins, alphabetized. I colored orange those I've already read (not necessary once neither for the last time), and green the two short stories collections that I am just starting to read.

Books for Children:
- Boy
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
- Compete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willy Wonka
- Danny, the Champion of the World
- Dirty Beasts
- Enormous Crocodile
- Esio Trot
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- George's Marvelous Medicine
- Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
- Going Solo
- Gremlins
- James and the Giant Peach
- Magic Finger
- Matilda
- Minpins
- Rhyme Stew
- Revolting Rhymes
- Twits
- Vicar of Nibbleswicke
- Witches
- Wonderful story of Henry Sugar

Adult Fiction:
- Constable's Coat or Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat
- Dip In The Pool
- Lamb to the Slaughter
- Landlady
- Parson's Pleasure
- Piece of Cake
- Pig
- Royal Jelly
- Smell
- Smoker

Short Story Collections:
- Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life
- Best of Roald Dahl
- Collected Short Stories of Dahl
- Kiss Kiss
- More Tales of the Unexpected
- My Uncle Oswald
- Over to You
- Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
- Someone Like You
- Switch Bitch
- Tales of the Unexpected
- Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl
- Two Fable

(- The titles were mined from: Roald Dahl - Wikipedia.)

Vicar of Nibbleswicke. Dahl wrote this book in the last months of his life. It tells a story of a priest who suffers from dyslexia. Together with the illustrator, Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake donated the book (with all the rights) to one dyslexia institute. What a noble deed!

Dyslexia, what's that? It's a kind of a learning disorder. A dyslexic can't recognize and comprehend written words well. Some famous people diagnosed with dyslexia are: Orlando Bloom, Jay Leno, Tom Cruise, Albert Einstein, Noel Gallagher, Jamie Oliver, Quentin Tarantino, Leondaro da Vinci, Bill Clinton ... (- from List of notable people diagnosed with dyslexia - Wikipedia.)

Story in short. The priest suffers from a deadly very rare form of dyslexia called Back-to-Front Dyslexia, which makes him say Holy Dog! instead of Holy God! in his sermons. Fortunately, there is a simple cure for it.
I have doubts whether such form of dyslexia really exists or if it's not just another of Dahl's lucid inventions. The story however is nicely told.

Me. The book reminds me that I too have my own set of problems which perhaps I cannot do anything about but to live with them, and which can get quite easily on other people's nerves. Problems result in troubles. For example, I believe that a bad sleep and fear of tomorrow I sometimes have, are a consequence of weak confidence in my abilities. Fear is definitely my enemy. But what I usually learn later on is that these fears don't stand on solid grounds, because - true, I have problems and I am aware of some of them and I am easing them just as we speak - others have their own set of problems too. An honest person knows that and knows that I know it too. So we can understand each other that we aren't perfectly perfect but that we are trying to do our best (or the close proximity of it).

The foreword. Apart from the book itself I love the foreword by Quentin Blake where he tells a bit about how he met and worked with the great Roald Dahl. Having skimmed through the book one more time and looked at the illustrations I was thinking how fortunate Blake and Dahl must've been to having bumped into each other: morbid met lucid.

Komentarji: 1

Blogger Bo:

I found this great illustration of Roald Dahl together with some of his characters. The big guy far in the horizon is BFG - Big Fuck ... Big Friendly Giant - who I would say is depicted very much like how Dahl looks. What do you think? If you know the story, you would probably agree that BFG resembles Dahl in personality as well!

16/5/06 21:15  

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