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My Uncle Oswald

My Uncle Oswald - Roald Dahl Just as a dog is not just for Christmas, a Dahl is not just for children. In fact, in this case it's not for children at all. Oh, no. You really don't want your kids reading this one. It's a bit mucky to say the least, what with it being full of fornication. Allegedly taken from the diaries of his Uncle (Oswald Hendryks Cornelius) and dating back to the 1930's, Uncle Oswald's exploits make Casanova seem like a librarian. He describes his hobbies as "rakery and wenching" and he observes a "no-woman-more-than-once" rule. We hear how one Major Grout, having recently returned from the Sudan, tells the seventeen-year-old Oswald about a type of beetle found there which, when crushed into a powder, is an aphrodisiac - a very powerful aphrodisiac in fact - ten times more effective than Spanish Fly. (Viagra hadn't been invented when this book was published) The stuff is so potent that when the Major took slightly too much once, he spent a fortnight lying rigid in hospital. This gives the entrepreneurial young Oswald an idea. So, while staying with a family in France, he nips to the Sudan, buys as much powder as he can get hold of, manufactures pills from it, tests them thoroughly himself with the help of the French family's daughter, and then sets out to make his fortune. It doesn't end there though. While at university, a tutor introduces him to the rather awkward practicalities involved in the artificial insemination of cattle, and this gives him another money-spinning idea - one for which he acquires the assistance of a female student. Together they set out to obtain sperm samples from the great and the good, by plying them with chocolate laced with beetle powder. (Although Proust proves to be a bit of a problem.) The images of Oswald grasping a bull's pizzle in dubious circumstances, and of a king shagging on a joggling sofa, are ones that will live long in my memory. I imagine that if [a:P.G. Wodehouse|7963|P.G. Wodehouse|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1198684105p2/7963.jpg] had a dirty little brother, then this is the sort of book he might have written. As I said, definitely not one for the kids. [Review originally posted on dooyoo.co.uk in May, 2002]