Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two by Saki-"Herman the Irascible" and "The Purple of the Balkan Kings"

"Herman the Irascible   (5 pages, 1904) and "The Purple of the Balkan Kings"  (1902, 4 pages)  both by Saki

This my 12th post on Saki (Hector Munro 1870 to 1916-UK).   Almost every day I check the great web page East of the Web: Short Stories  to see what their short stories of the day are.   Normally they have one classic and one modern story.    It was on this web page that I first discovered Katherine Mansfield.   The webmasters at East of the Web clearly like Saki a lot as he often the author of the story of the day.    Saki wrote nearly 300 short stories so they have a lot to pick from!

Saki is a "surprise ending" short story writer.    The whole point of his stories is setting  us up for the often hilarious ending.    I know Saki is not on any list of best short story writers.    I probably would not read one of his stories   a second time.    His prose style is sort of a parody on High British Historians.   I think after reading a few of his stories you would be able to recognize his work.   I can accept that some might be put of by what may be an overly mannered prose style.    Anyway a lot of people, including me, do enjoy reading his good natured stories once and a while.

Of these two stories, "Herman the Irascible" is the best.    Women might be offended by it but it all mean  in fun.     There is a great plague among the Royalty in England and the 23rd in line for the thrown, Herman the Irascible, a very minor German prince becomes King of England.    There is a big movement in the country to give women the vote.   Herman does not really like the idea but he does not feel he is in a position to reject the idea.     He gives women the right to vote but they are required by the law to vote in all elections from dog  catcher on up.   Men can vote if they want to but they are not required.     Now comes the twist.

"The Purple of the Balkan Kings"  is a story seemingly about a great player in Balkan politics, exiled for now, waiting to return to his throne.   Saki likes to write about government officials and royalty.    The ending is pretty good.

Do you have favorite Saki story?

"Saki, I like you even if you are not  Irish"
Mel u

1 comment:

Suko said...

Mel, my favorite Saki story is The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat. I will try to read some of your suggestions in the near future. :)