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Head of Zeus
Teller of the Unexpected
Teller of the Unexpected: The Life of Roald Dahl, An Unofficial Biography by Matthew Dennison

Book of the Week on Radio 4, and in the Observer, Sunday Times, Daily Mail and The Week

'Riveting, and immaculately written' Sunday Telegraph
'A superb psychological study of a literary genius' Business Post
'A rounded picture... and gets to Dahl's flawed, human core' Country Life
'Crisply done and well-judged' TLS

Roald Dahl was one of the world's greatest storytellers. He conceived his vocation as one as intrepid as that of any explorer and, in his writing for children, he was able to tap into a child's viewpoint throughout his life. He crafted tales that were exotic in scenario, frequently invested with a moral, and filled with vibrant characters that endure in public imagination to the present day.

In this brand-new biogrpahy, Matthew Dennison re-evaluates the received narrative surrounding Dahl – that of school sporting hero, daredevil pilot, and wartime spy-turned-author – and examines surviving primary resources as well as Dahl's extensive literary output to tell the story of a man who identified as a rule-breaker, an iconoclast and a romantic, both insider and outsider, hero and child's friend.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Biography
04 Aug 2022 * 272pp * £9.99 * 9781788549400
'Devotes a large chunk of his book to Dahl's Norwegian family and schooldays; their combination of warmth, tragedy, inspiration and savagery is brilliantly evoked... [His account] makes you feel grudging admiration for a bully whose self-belief was, in a way, heroic'
Sunday Times
'Superb psychological study of a literary genius... Matthew Dennison's biography of Roald Dahl manages to peel back the layers of an infamously complex man'
Sunday Business Post
'Matthew Dennison's streamlined text clips along with an economy befitting Dahl's brusque manner... Dennison presents a rounded picture [...] and gets to Dahl's flawed, human core'
Country Life
'A well-researched, compact book'
'This book is riveting, and immaculately written'
Sunday Telegraph
'Brace yourself for Dahl mania... Documenting the multi-layered life of Roald Dahl as a creative maverick who created some of the most well-loved characters in literature, this biography reevaluates Dahl by examining his surviving relics'
'A crisply done and well-judged survey of the outline of the life'
'[An] impeccably balanced new biography'
Mail on Sunday
'An intriguing read about a vastly talented but morally weak man'
The Anglo-Celt
'Dennison recasts the narrative of the daredevil pilot and spy-turned-author as a rule-breaker, romantic and ultimately a child's friend'
School House
Matthew Dennison
Matthew Dennison
Matthew Dennison is the author of nine critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West, a Book of the Year in The Times, Spectator, Independent and Observer, and the much-praised Eternal Boy, a life of Kenneth Grahame, and his biography of Her late Majesty The Queen, published by Head of Zeus.
ALSO BY Matthew Dennison
Over the Hills and Far Away
Eternal Boy
The Last Princess
The Queen
Lytton Strachey
Bernard Shaw
Basil Street Blues: A Family Story
Lytton Strachey By Himself
The Life and Death of Sherlock Holmes
The Most Dangerous Book
Rupert Brooke
Life in a Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford The Biography
The First Poets
Byron's Women
Over the Hills and Far Away
Joyce in Court
Kahlil Gibran: Beyond Borders
Eternal Boy
Life in a Cold Climate
Teller of the Unexpected