Thursday, January 26, 2012

Saki: The Open Window

While in high school I discovered several short stories written by Saki. They always had elements of surprise and humor. Saki is the pen name for a British writer, Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916) whose short stories present a satirical view of Edwardian society. His stories are sometimes macabre, and sometimes mischievous but always very entertaining. 

Saki wrote several ghost stories, one of his most famous is The Open Window, which he wrote in 1914.

The Open Window is a brief story, only two pages in length, which is set in a small village in the sitting room of a an upper-class family. The story finds the main character a young man who has been sent to the country to calm his nerves being entertained by the families’ fifteen-year old niece while he waits for the appearance of the mistress of the house.

This very self-possessed fifteen year-old proceeds to tell the high-strung guest an eerie family tale of tragedy, which results in a very nasty shock. Saki tells this story in a fast paced, smooth deadpan manner. His story ends with a very humorous twist. 

Munro (Saki) is considered a master of the short story and The Open Window is a good example of his writing style.

The following link has a written version as well as an audio recording of The Open Window. Enjoy.

Here is an 11 minute video of this story--re-titled, The Open Doors.

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