Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

June Books 20) Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl

What I have been trying so hard to tell you all along is simply that my father, without the slightest doubt, was the most marvelous and exciting father any boy ever had.
This was a Dahl that I think I missed out on when I was younger; a very short story of a boy and his father, published in 1975 but surely set some decades earlier, in which the two launch a symbolic assault on the local capitalist's citadel by drugging and stealing all his pheasants. It turns out that the entire of the local community - doctor, vicar, policeman, midwife - are all in on the poaching scam, so Danny appears to be involved with a community uprising against the local autocrat.

But in fact this political interpretation may not be right: Mr Hazell's big crime is not being rich per se, but trying to impress people with his wealth; the worst things said of him involve him being rude to the villagers and trying to buy respect from other rich people. Hazell's flaws are his ego and lack of sincerity; Danny's father is completely genuine. So what at first seems an adventure story of a boy and a slightly older boy (his father) having a romp in the woods, and at second glance might be a political parable, is actually a moral tale of being true to yourself.
Tags: bookblog 2013, writer: roald dahl

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