Cruel World

I was 7, I was in a house by a lake in New Hampshire and I was sitting on a window seat in the early evening when I first heard the words of Roald Dahl. They were read aloud by Mrs. Kunhardt, who had been my first-grade teacher. She started with “James and the Giant Peach.” She went on to “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” I hold in my head the memory of the sweet, scented flesh of that peach; of the aroma of roast turkey and the sight of Mr. Fox’s tail. And I tell you this because Dahl is that kind of writer, the rare kind who pole-axes you when first you meet, when you discover the wonder of writing that is perfectly, vividly, wildly alive….