Comment lire l’impossible dans le recueil de nouvelles Over To You de Roald Dahl

Bénédicte Meillon

Lire ce document
Abstract :
One of the most striking features of Roald Dahl’s short stories in Over To You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying lies in the use of fantastic and magic realist modes to narrate fictions dealing with RAF pilots in World War Two. Loosely based on Roald Dahl’s actual experience as a fighter pilot, these stories cast light onto the heinous aspects of war, underlining the impossibility for the pilots to accept the atrocious events they must play a part in. As a matter of fact, the narratives tend to veer off into irrational scenes which may be interpreted as a refusal of an insufferable reality. As a consequence, the stories make use of shifting focalization techniques and narrative modes, thereby offering grotesque and surrealistic visions which read as nightmares, deliria, fantastic pieces and magic realism. Roald Dahl’s bitter sense of humor, unexpected twists and incongruous flights into lyricism lend his prose a quality of resistance which wavers between denial and a literary attempt to sublimate and transcend the traumatic experience of the war. As the title of the collection suggests, Over To You brings the reader in as an active participant who must decide how to accept or refuse the problematical narratives which resist easy interpretation.This paper tries to establish how the realism in the stories translates dehumanizing experiences and build up a tension which eventually triggers a split in the unity of the self. Subsequently, the resort to dreams and humor provide an attempt to dodge or resist the sordid context of the war. Finally, I will venture in this paper a magic realist interpretation for some of the stories, the impossibility of which finally comes second to the transcendence of a reality that is simply too horrific to be accepted as such.
Published : 2012-06-04


Bénédicte Meillon, « Comment lire l’impossible dans le recueil de nouvelles Over To You de Roald Dahl », Cycnos, 2012-06-04. URL :