Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Byzantine Omelette by Saki

The only thing I’ve read by Saki is his most popular short story, The Open Window. I decided to fill this reading gap by reading more Saki short stories, and The Byzantine Omelette was the first one that caught my attention. I mean, seriously, how can a Byzantine omelette not catch your attention?

The story is about Sophie Chattel-Monkheim, a socialist from the upper-class. When a Duke visits her, she hires an omelette specialist. The said omelette specialist happens to be a strike-breaker, and, when her household servants find about this, they go on strike, as well.

I know the term “upper-class socialist” sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s what makes this story so fun. Sophie has a lot of ideas about equality between the classes and hating royalty, but, when a Duke stays at her house, she bends over backward just to please him.

Sophie, I think, is an excellent symbol for Saki’s views on human nature. We’re all a jumble of contradictions. A person can be innocent and malicious at the same time. We can be naïve with a hard edge.

The Byzantine Omelette was a fun read, and I can’t wait to read more Saki short stories. I still can’t decide, though, who’s the better writer between him and O. Henry.

You can read it here.

3 comments:

mel u said...

I have read maybe 30 Saki stories in the last two years, including this one. I like his writing style a lot, his wit, his cultural references-glad to see you are getting into Saki-I have posted on about 10 or so of his better known stories-I enjoyed your post a lot

Zibilee said...

I think this story (and it's title) sound very interesting and like something very off the beaten path. I haven't read anything by Saki, but it sounds like I might need to!

Erin said...

Pretty sure I'd read this one just based on the title alone! I haven't read anything by Saki and am rather curious now.

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