Friday, 9 March 2001

Saki: Reginald in Russia (1910)

Edition: Penguin, 1982
Review number: 776

Saki's second collection of short stories did not appear until six years after the first, and there are significant changes. Reginald was a monothematic collection of extremely short commentaries on the British upper class social scene centred around the ascerbic, effete young man Reginald. Here, he features in only one story, providing the title for the collection, and it is half hearted in comparison with the earlier Reginald stories.

One of the strands in Saki's story telling is to write about something unpleasant behind a facade of apparently normal British life, usually something on the very of the supernatural; Sredni Vashtar in Beasts and Superbeasts is the most famous example. They are from a genre which today includes writers such as Robert Holdstock, and many of them are quite disturbing to read. The earliest of them, Gabriel-Ernest appears in this collection, incongrous alongside the society satire.

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