A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Saturday Shorts Week 4
Welcome to our new weekend series for 2014. Every Saturday this year one of our staff will suggest a favorite short story from the library’s collection, all of them a great choice for quick weekend reading.
This is a wicked little story that perfectly skewers the English children’s tale. There’s the orphaned boy, his nasty relations and caretakers, a gloomy house with a magical little hiding place, and the fantastical big comeuppance at the end. It does in about a dozen pages what the traditional children’s book usually takes at least a couple hundred to do.
There is a difference though—Saki is no sentimentalist. The payoff is thrilling and violent, the child wonderfully vengeful, and the hint of the fantastic about the whole story is dark rather than whimsical.
If you’ve never read “Sredni Vashtar” before, don’t hesitate. You’ll find it in the Saki collection The Unrest Cure and Other Stories (FIC SAKI) as well as in the anthology The Weird (FIC WEIRD). I’ll wager it will be among the best 10 minutes of reading you do all year.
Review by Matthew