A tale of the unexpected (Book review)

[Part 3 of I-wrote-this-and-am-depressed-by-even-the-thought-of-sex-(let-alone-waking-with-a-hardon-4-or-5-times-a-night)-so-wasn’t-going-to-publish-but-fuck-it-!!! and in the circumstances, perhaps the most inconsequential of posts …]

My summer holiday reading had been sat on the shelf in my bedroom for months. When visiting friends over the Easter break, or possibly even the last summer break, we had taken our respective kids to the Roald Dahl museum. Until that point, I had not realised that Dahl had been responsible for the series of short stories which turned into the TV series Tales Of The Unexpected

… nor that his writing was not confined to children’s books. His adult literature, I learned, could be of

a far more adult nature.

A little research revealed that My Uncle Oswald was possibly the most salacious.

Naturally I bought a copy.

According to the back cover …

Meet Oswald Hendryks Cornelius, Dahl’s most disgraceful and extraordinary character . . . Aside from being thoroughly debauched, strikingly attractive and astonishingly wealthy, Uncle Oswald was the greatest bounder, bon vivant and fornicator of all time. In this instalment of his scorchingly frank memoirs he tells of his early career and erotic education at the hands of a number of enthusiastic teachers, of discovering the invigorating properties of the Sudanese Blister Beetle, and of the gorgeous Yasmin Howcomely, his electrifying partner in a most unusual series of thefts . . .

(I shall try to avoid spoilers …)

The story, written in the voice of Oswald Cornelius, starts when he was 17yrs old. A chance encounter inspires him to manufacture and purvey the early 20th century’s equivalent of Viagra. Or, more accurately, a potent combination of Viagra and Spanish Fly. (Cantharidin, a substance exrracted from the Blister Beetle, has indeed used as an aphrodisiac, albeit one with significant toxicity.)

Having made a small fortune from this venture, Oswald needs more money, lots more money, to facilitate his love of fine food, fine wine, fine cars and fine pussy, with all of which he enthusuasticly and unapolegetically furnishes his life.

At university, Oswald discovers his lecturer has made one of the significant discoveries of his time, and persuades the academic to let him monetise the process. All they require is a list of the world’s greatest minds and a seductress … whom Oswald conveniently recruits from his own bed.

Together, the three conspirators embark on a scurrilous trip around Europe, acquiring, by means far from moral, the currency of their future obscene wealth. As said, I won’t spoil the story for you, suffice to say Yasmin has just as scant a fondess for propriety, as Oswald, and a near equal appetite for vigorous fucking, from which she manufactures their profit.

Do they succeed? I shall leave it to you, Curious Reader, to discover, but as with most of Dahl’s canon, there is a twist coming. I confess I felt that twist was prematurely heralded, and so it was no great surprise and a little disappointing. As was the lack of gratuitous description of all the fucking that goes on throughout the book … and a lot of fucking goes on. That’s not to say it isn’t mildly titillating: as long as the reader has a mildly smutty imagination, it’s not difficult to cunjor up sufficiently smutty mental inmates to provide at least mildly moist or strained underwear. And those who feel at least a little light relief from the morality demanded in current times, Dahl delivers a tale of depravity and licentiousness in such a way that you are soon wholeheatedly supporting the characters in their dissolute venture.

In short it is a good old fashioned sex romp of a book, and as long as your fancy doesn’t require the anal beads of 50 Shades to tickle it, nor the intellectual social commentary of Fear Of Flying, I’d happily recommend picking up a copy as you browse the book shop in Heathrow, Grand Central or Hong Kong International.

The one thing I actually thought lacking from the book (explicit descriptions of bouncing tits and bums, cunt lips spread around pistoning cocks, and orifices subsequently dripping with sweat, juices and ejaculate) was a smattering of pictures. Many of Roald Dahl’s other stories have been illustrated by Qwentin Blake, and it would have been rather delightful if Oswald’s (and indeed his co-conspiritors’) adventures had been depicted in a similar manner to Dahl’s novels for junior readers. The thought of Blake illustrating Proust not quite buggering Yasmin, or the naked King of Spain winding up his sex machibe, or Shaw discovering his antipathy towards women had been grossly misplaced, in much the same style as The Trunchbull might have scolded a Matilda or Augustus Gloop got sucked into a machine, really does make me grin. But you can’t have it all.

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