The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, by Roald Dahl

Eight stars

For this end of the month buddy read, I agreed to another Roald Dahl classic, though not one I have ever attempted before. This is a story within a story, which adds additional layers in its telling and the review. Henry Sugar is a wealthy and extremely egocentric man who gambles every chance he gets. While perusing the private library of an acquaintance, Sugar comes across a school tablet containing the summary of an interview with Imhrat Khan, an Indian man with a special talent. As Sugar reads, he discovers that Khan could see the world around him without using his eyes after extensive consultation and training with a yogi. Through Khan’s tale, Sugar learns the art of intense concentration, which he feels might be highly useful for his own gambling needs. After years of training, Sugar has honed these skills, now ready to put them to use. After winning a decent amount at his favourite gambling establishment, he has a form of epiphany, seeking to turn his winnings into something better. Dahl crafts the rest of this story around Sugar and how he will use these skills around the world to benefit others, a Robin Hood of sorts. By the end, all is revealed to the reader, or at least enough to keep everyone in some degree of suspense. An interesting story that might move outside the realm of past children’s stories flowing from Dahl’s pen, but is just as delightful for readers of all ages.

Anything Roald Dahl is sure to be a highly entertaining read, which is supported with this piece. Dahl offers up another winner in this brief tale that offers two stories for the price of one. Layering both the Khan tale and the progression of Sugar’s own epiphany allows Dahl to offer two insights for his reader, if you will pardon the pun. While the cast of characters is minimal, the reader makes do with what is put before them and can discover a wonderfully engaging piece that speaks to each person differently. Working both in the heart of India (Khan) and England (Sugar), Dahl can show his reader the relatively large difference between the cultures and mindsets, though the end result remains the same; there are those who are greedy all over and those who seek to render their individual abilities for their own profit. One might say this story is geared more for the mid-level reader to better grasp the ideas presented, though the narrative and dialogue are nothing too ghastly.

Kudos, Mr. Dahl for another exciting story that I can now say that I have added to my already burgeoning collection.