Thread to celebrate Saki

In this thread, Baker said

… and I agree!

There some info here:

Saki was the pen-name of H H Munro who wrote a series of mebbe the best short-stories ever, a mixture of the good bits of Oscar Wilde and PG Wodehouse, with lots of weird sensual homosexual stuff as a bonus. And he died tragically (from the above site):

He’s class. Simply class. And definitely deserves to be better known.

And has anyone ever found the answer to Reginald’s chilling question, ‘What did the Caspian Sea?’ :wink:


Seriously, I love Saki. I picked up a volume two years back that had all of his short stories and novels for like $2.50 (no kidding: it was some sort of misprint, since the cover said it also contained all of his plays, when in fact it didn’t. So they were giving them away). I haven’t gotten round to reading the novels yet, but I think I’ve pretty much read all the short stories. He may be the best short story author ever.

I strongly recommend him, especially if you like such things as Roald Dahl’s ‘adult’ short stories: Dahl was a fervent admirer of Saki’s.

Love him. He’s like P.G. Wodehouse in withdrawal from antidepressants. I can read him endlessly (and I have read every word he’s written—have even read the only biography of him, though sadly, it was not all that great).

I have read pretty much all his short stories and novels though it’s been a few years. The novels have their amusing bits but aren’t that good IMO: especially the one about the German take-over of Britain

Some of his short-stories that stand out: The Unrest Cure, Tobermory, The Open Window. This thread will probably get me digging out the copy of his works that I have and re-reading them.

I’ve read a bit of the novels but found his style of writing suited the extremely short story best.

I like all the classics – Sredni Vashtar, Tobermory, The Open Window and the rest – but I also adore the highly irreverent stories that merely revolve round Reginald or Clovis being frightfully decadent and clever.

And all the semi-gay stuff is great – not as sentimental or fragile as Wilde, more a French kind of self-adoration. I love the story of St Vespaluus which seems to be a big excuse for Clovis to indulge in a strange kind of sexual bee fantasy.

There are far too many quotes to count and they really depend on context, but I love the following:

From Tobermory:

From Laura:

From Sredni Vashtar:

From The Story of St Vespaluus:

Are there any Saki sites that have his stories downloaded?

You can just Google for them, Eve. I don’t think there are any copyright issues, since the stories are fairly old. But don’t take my word for it.

I love Saki. I think my favorite story of his is ‘Quailseed’; the story of an artist and his scheme to drum up business for the local grocer.

They all have a cynical, decadent kind of wit to them

“Saki” died during the First World War (1916, to be more precise), so copyright shouldn’t be a problem … personally, I like him a lot; my Penguin “complete works” edition is pretty much falling apart, though - it’s seen a lot of use over the years.

Have loved Saki since the closing line of “The Opend Window.” Can anyone recommend a good compilation of his stories?

The one I have (and, as I’ve said, bought very cheap) is “Hector Hugh Munro: the complete stories of Saki”, Wordsworth Classics 1993. I don’t know if it’s still available, but it supposedly contains all of Saki’s short stories and novels.

Oooo, I didn’t see this thread until just now!

Try The Toys of Peace, it’s a relevant now as when it was first written. And as I said, I named my cat Tobermory for the story. And the character Tobermory in the “Finish the Sci-Fi story” thread was a tribute.

I heard that two of his stories were made into episodes of the old Alfred Hitchcock TV show. I saw the one based on The Schwartz-Metterklume Method, but I heard there also was one based on Sredni Vashtar. Did anyone ever see this, or know more about it?

My first Saki story was one in English class in high school, The Interlopers. They probably don’t have his stories around now, as it seems reading must all be something PC, that students can “relate” to personally.

Also liked Gabriel Ernest, Laura, and The Boar Pig. I adored the already mentioned The Unrest Cure as well.

Those are wolves! seems to have quite a few of his works and lists several at various sites across the web.

“Filboid Studge” remains one of the funniest short stories ever. “Sredni Vashtar” was my favorite when I was a child, which may be disturbing.

Oddly enough, I just returned from a stay at the tiny village of Beaumont-Hamel, where Saki was killed. I note from his entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register that he was 45 years old. It is unusual that a War Correspondent was only a “Lance-Serjeant;” perhaps his acid wit didn’t sit well with the military establishment…

I also visited the absolutely huge British memorial to the missing at Thiepval, where his name is inscribed (along with 75,000 others). Unfortunately, the morning of the visit to the memorial was the one day that my camera battery died; I wish I’d known his name was there beforehand–I’d have bought a poppy to place there for him! Thiepval Memorial is immense–the largest British war memorial in the world–it is as if someone took a slice out of a basilica and placed it on a hilltop in France. At about 150 feet high, it can be seen for many miles away (including the battlefield at Beaumont-Hamel).

The Scrivener, please tell me you are a recent high school graduate! It would give me hope!:stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry, Baker, I’m in my mid-'30’s now. But perhaps you can take some consolation from this: I read that story from a great paperback collection of classic suspense/horror stories [various authors] back in the late '70’s, that I checked out from the library, and I remember that line from all those years ago! (P.S. – Was the line in question from “The Interlopers”? I don’t remember the title!)

Maybe this runs in the family… I was so taken with the book that I showed it to my father, saying something along the lines that I couldn’t believe how great these old horror stories were, mentioning a few emergent favorites, etc. He looked over the table of contents, noticed “Leningen and the Ants,” and told me about how he still remembered the salient details of that one, even though he had last read it when he was about my age… and that he really loved those classic tales of horror too!


It’s been so long since I’ve read any Saki, so please forgive me if I mis-attribute anything.

Didn’t he write “The Gift of the Magi”? I remember I read a collection of his stories, along with a good number of other classic author’s short stories over the period of one summer when I was nine or ten.

Did he write a story set in Japan about a “foxwife” or some such? I too, would like to find a site with some of his stories on it, I’d also like to see a listing of all his short stories, does anyone have a link?