William and Mary by Roald DahlWe all know Roald Dahl can write some pretty weird and creepy cool stories for children, but we hardly hear about his adult work. After reading this, Im glad I discovered this fact and will have to read more.
William and Mary are a married couple. After William dies, the solicitor gives Mary a special letter from her dead husband. As she reads the long letter, she slowly starts to realise her husband was keeping a bizarre secret. One that might not totally release her from his tight and harsh grip...
Yikes. This is quite a creepy story!
I love how well it was written, and how everything unfolds to reveal an obnoxious man ultimately wooed by a crazy offer. Theres some freaky pseudo-science added in for good measure, plenty of medical talk, and an awful marriage that scarred the wife even after her husbands death. Not to mention the super gory imagery. 👀
The twist at the end was unexpected, but such a great way for Mary to enact sweet revenge on her oppressive husband.
I really enjoyed this!
BTW, you can read this story for free here. (There are a few typos and some odd formatting, but that didnt affect my reading experience.)
William and Mary (A Roald Dahl Short Story)
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Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Formatting may be different depending on your device and eBook type. William and Mary is a brilliant gem of a short story from Roald Dahl, the master of the sting in the tail. In William and Mary , Roald Dahl, one of the world's favourite authors, tells a sinister story about the darker side of human nature. Here, a wronged woman takes revenge on her dead husband.
William and Mary is a brilliant gem of a short story from Roald Dahl, the master of the sting in the tail. In William and Mary , Roald Dahl, one of the world's favourite authors, tells a sinister story about the darker side of human nature. Here, a wronged woman takes revenge on her dead husband. William and Mary is taken from the short story collection Kiss Kiss , which includes ten other devious and shocking stories, featuring the wife who pawns the mink coat from her lover with unexpected results; the priceless piece of furniture that is the subject of a deceitful bargain; a husband and wife who hit upon a novel way to feed their baby; and others. This story is also available as a Penguin digital audio download read by Juliet Stevenson and Adrian Scarborough.
Brain transplantation in fiction
Jeremy Treglown notes in his biography that Dahl did a great deal of neurosurgical research to make sure that experiment described would be as realistic as possible. Another interesting note: the names of the main characters, William and Mary, are the same as the two white mice in The Witches. Spoiler warning! She returns home to read it, smoking a cigarette and admiring her new television set. She wonders what her demanding husband could possibly have to say to her.
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It was later adapted into episodes of Way Out and Tales of the Unexpected. Mary Pearl receives a note from her recently deceased husband, William. The letter tells how Landy, a doctor, approaches William, a well-regarded philosopher, about his cancer , six weeks before William's death. He suggests that William undertake a procedure, which he explains in great detail, that would mean his brain being transplanted from his body after death, and attached to an artificial heart. The brain would be bathing in a Ringer's solution.