Second in our series of authors' favourite stories is a tale picked by Liam Hogan. Check out his review, the story, and give some of Liam's stories a read - you have plenty to choose from and you won't be disappointed!
Everyone knows Roald Dahl for his children's stories, but he also wrote a number of collections of short stories, screenplays, and even an erotic novel (My Uncle Oswald). 'The Landlady' is a macabre short, first published in 1959, in which young Billy Weaver arrives in Bath looking for accommodation.
The beauty of the story is in the slow realisation of the true nature of the Landlady's hobby, and what that means for Billy. And the shock - "She seemed terribly nice" and "After all, she not only was harmless - there was no question about that - but she was also quite obviously a kind and generous soul."
It's a delicate balance; reveal too much, and the surprise is spoilt, along with the homely description of Billy's new lodgings. Reveal too little, and there would remain some doubt about what Roald Dahl intended you to imagine.
And it is very much left to your imagination to fill in the blanks - aided by the references to previous lodgers, the nagging thoughts at the back of Billy's head, the Landlady's odd turn of phrase - even the ominous foreshadowing, the compulsion to knock, to enter. All of these make sure the reader doesn't fall into the same trap as poor Billy Weaver.
Can you think of another story that gets away with explicitly revealing so little, and yet leaves everything crystal clear?
Click the following link to download a copy of the story: The Landlady by Roald Dahl
Liam Hogan runs a sanctuary for homeless stories. If there is anyone else out there who can give a good home to one of his stories, please get in touch. Most of them are house-broken.
Stories Written: "How to Build a Mass Murderer" (read by Clive Greenwood), "Commuters' Tails" (read by Silas Hawkins), "He Does Not Know" (read by Ben Crystal), "Bob, Justbob" (read by Silas Hawkins), "Stalemate" (read by Freddie Machin), "The King's Computer" (read by Ben Crystal), "Rat" (read by Silas Hawkins), "The Tasting Menu" (read by Lucie Howard), "Remembrance Day" (read by Will Goodhand), "Sunset" (read by Saul Reichlin), Last Blood, First Ink (for LL Leeds, read by David Rees), "How the Elephant Fell" (read by Rachel Spicer), Temp (for LL Leeds, read by David Zezulka).