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Keep the Giraffe Burning by John Sladek: Reviews/Comments

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John Sladek's introduction:

Don't be fooled by the Surrealist title. Most of these stories are only meant to be fun, and no serious messages are intended.

Surrealism is supposed to have something to do with Freud and dreams, which doesn't sound entertaining at all. Psychiatrists know how boring re-told dreams can be, and so do the husbands and wives of dreamers, at their breakfast tables. Freud never strikes you as exactly a barrel of fun either, does he? Especially after he came down from Mount Ararat with the graven tables of Dream Interpretation.

Probably what was wrong with Surrealism all along was that it got defined precisely and interpreted exactly. Nothing can stand up to that. Think of all the serious critics who've gone over and over The Castle of Otranto, until it's lost most of its original appeal. I've met dozens of people who've read this gothic classic through without laughing.

Readers who don't like laughing can have their own kind of entertainment out of this collection. If they will only frown and bear it, reading all of the stories, they will find an exact interpretation in the Afterword. A friend of mine wrote it, and I believe it spoils every story here.

People have laughed at all great inventors and discoverers. They laughed at Galileo, at Edison's light bulb, and even at nitrous oxide. I hope they will laugh, a little, at these stories.

Author biography Back to book page