Saturday, 22 June 2019

Book Review: The Oscar Wilde Collection by Oscar Wilde

After being such a huge fan of The Picture of Dorian Gray, I knew I needed to explore more of Wilde’s writing. Unfortunately this was a bit of a mixed bag for me!

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves.”
Dorian Gray is at the very beginning and I decided not to reread it - I’ll do that another day. After this we had Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, wherein Lord Arthur is told by a palm reader that it is in his destiny to be a murderer... however, he wants to get married but decides he has no right to do so until he has committed the murder. Hilarity ensues...

Then there was The Canterville Ghost which was an absolute blast! It’s about the Otis family who move into a haunted house, but no matter what the ghost does, the family refuse to be frightened. It was so incredibly funny at times with Mr Otis advising the ghost that maybe he should oil his chains and Mrs Otis delivering lines like “I don’t at all care for blood-stains in a sitting room.” LOL. The combination of the macabre with some comedy was just perfect!

Following this we have a number of stories for children that Wilde has written. These were hit and miss for me personally. Certain themes and messages became a bit repetitive - there was always a lovely message at the end, but sometimes the message made me roll my eyes... have I become cynical in my old age?!

Next up was A House of Pomegranates which is a collection of his fairy tales. Again, all beautifully written - I can never fault that - but I am not a huge fairy tale person? So again, up and down!

The collection closes with The Ballad of Reading Gaol, which Tes @paperbackbones had told me about before, which is a poem that Wilde had written in exile following his release from the same prison. The inclusion of this poem at the very end left quite a different tone from the stories that preceded it. It narrates the execution of a fellow inmate, highlighting the punishments that all convicts share. I don’t read much poetry but thought this one was well-written and impactful.

So whilst this collection was hit and miss, I will continue to love this man’s voice.

3.5 stars.


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