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Such Darling Dodos

de Angus Wilson

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882261,512 (3.33)1
Towards the end of Angus Wilson's life his short stories were entombed in a collected volume. By way of signifying the corpus was sadly complete that made sense but it didn't do justice to the importance and quality of his work in this medium. Three volumes of short stories were published - The Wrong Set, Such Darling Dodos and A Bit Off the Map. Faber Finds are reissuing these original selections. Angus Wilson made his initial reputation by his short stories, The Wrong Set and Such Darling Dodos being his first two published books, appearing in 1949 and 1950 respectively. When reviewing Such Darling Dodos C. P. Snow perceptively wrote, 'Part-bizarre, part-savage and part-maudlin, there is nothing much like it on the contemporary scene. It is rather as though a man of acute sensibility felt left out of the human party, and was surveying it, half-enviously, half-contemptuously, from the corner of the room, determined to strip-off the comfortable pretences and show that this party is pretty horrifying after all ... Sometimes the effect is too mad to be pleasant, sometimes most moving; no one could deny Mr Wilson's gift.' As Margaret Drabble points out in her biography of Angus Wilson (to be reissued in Faber Finds) his stories were in their own way to be as iconoclastic and irreverent as John Osborne's plays were to be. They not so much deserve as demand to be re-read.… (més)
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Somehow the short story seems the perfect setting for Wilson's wickedly waspish wit. The stories in this collection (some no longer than fleshed out anecdotes) depend on swiftly drawn character studies. The setting is England in the years immediately surrounding the Second World War, most often in village or academics ettings. We watch is mostly middle class characters as they try to cope with a world, and a social order, forever changed. The satire is pointed and unflinching, but also terribly funny. While the barbs are sharp, they lack the mean-spirited misanthropy that, for me, mars some of Waugh's short stories. Even at his most mordant he seems to have sympathy and affection for these characters, and I found myself liking and caring about them. For me, as a gay man, it is curious how often gay characters turn up in his stories (e.g. in two stories in this collection). Some of my gay friends have been offended by the way he treats these characters. but it seems to me they are no more broadly drawn than his other characters and it is remarkable that they appear at all. If one reads biographies of gay men of the period it doesn't take long to run into men like the ones he describes; it was a very difficult time to be gay, and many homosexuals built defenses with exaggerated behaviors. ( )
  sjnorquist | Feb 23, 2013 |
1st ed with fair only dj
  kauders | Oct 9, 2009 |
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Towards the end of Angus Wilson's life his short stories were entombed in a collected volume. By way of signifying the corpus was sadly complete that made sense but it didn't do justice to the importance and quality of his work in this medium. Three volumes of short stories were published - The Wrong Set, Such Darling Dodos and A Bit Off the Map. Faber Finds are reissuing these original selections. Angus Wilson made his initial reputation by his short stories, The Wrong Set and Such Darling Dodos being his first two published books, appearing in 1949 and 1950 respectively. When reviewing Such Darling Dodos C. P. Snow perceptively wrote, 'Part-bizarre, part-savage and part-maudlin, there is nothing much like it on the contemporary scene. It is rather as though a man of acute sensibility felt left out of the human party, and was surveying it, half-enviously, half-contemptuously, from the corner of the room, determined to strip-off the comfortable pretences and show that this party is pretty horrifying after all ... Sometimes the effect is too mad to be pleasant, sometimes most moving; no one could deny Mr Wilson's gift.' As Margaret Drabble points out in her biography of Angus Wilson (to be reissued in Faber Finds) his stories were in their own way to be as iconoclastic and irreverent as John Osborne's plays were to be. They not so much deserve as demand to be re-read.

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