If you’ve ever stayed with dull people during what is alleged to be the festive season, you’ll know a good dose of Saki is the only cure.
These Christmas stories present Saki at his inimitable, satirical best as he addresses the most perilous aspects of the holiday period: visiting dull relatives, tolerating Christmas Eve merriment, receiving unwanted gifts, and writing ecstatic thank-you cards for those aforementioned gifts.
‘Reginald’s Christmas Revel’ and ‘Reginald on Christmas Presents’ provide us with fabulously droll wit and wisdom from one of Saki’s best-loved characters. In ‘Bertie’s Christmas Eve’ the Steffink family is served some Yuletide revenge by young cousin Bertie, while in ‘Down Pens’ Egbert and Janetta conceive of an ingenious way to never write another thank-you letter again.
The undisputed master of the English short story, never is Saki’s satire sharper than when dissecting the customs of the upper classes at Christmas. These are four tales guaranteed to delight and disturb any Christmas gathering.
‘Saki is like a perfect martini but with absinthe stirred in . . . heady, delicious and dangerous.’ – Stephen Fry
‘The best of his stories are still better than the best of just about every other writer around.’ – Roald Dahl
‘Saki was irreplaceable and unreplaced.’ London Review of Books
‘His stories are cut-glass beauties, pitiless and hard-edged and constantly poking fun at the pretensions of the middle and upper classes.’ – Naomi Alderman
‘I took it up to my bedroom, opened it casually and was unable to go to sleep until I had finished it’ – Noël Coward