For my big genre project, I ended up needing to read a collection of short stories by Saki and, in a fit of extravagance, I decided to get The Complete Saki from the library, a near one-thousand page Penguin book. This is the first book Saki published, a collection of short stories. Saki’s stories are very short indeed, four to five pages at the outside and occasionally they’re only a page or a little more. They’re particularly brief in this book which revolves around the titular character making a boor of himself at various social gatherings or, occasionally, just giving monologues on, for instance, how much he hates giving Christmas presents. Saki’s big thing was lampooning the British upper classes and you can already see that he has ability for wonderfully creative, clever and very funny turns of phrase. But this short book (not even a hundred pages in this edition) is pretty dull by the author’s usual standards. It isn’t awful, particularly since it is short, but neither is it anything I’d recommend. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – British author’s first book of short stories begins a career spent mocking the British upper classes, but the author is still fairly amateurish here, albeit with sparks of genius to come. 2 ½ stars.