The Chronicles of Clovis - H.H. Munro (pseudonym ‘Saki’) 1912 - John Lane, London - First Edition ‘The world ‘Saki’ populates is a world full of sunny humour and zephyrs of merriment, where wit and wisdom are one and the same thing. Let us live there and laugh unrestrainedly’ – Morning Post

A bright first edition of one of ‘Saki’s’ most popular collections of stories, many of them featuring the disenchanted hero Clovis Sangrail, and including one of his best tales, ‘Tobermory’, the story of a temperamental and occasionally malicious talking cat named Tobermory who, with magnificent disdain for the rules of social interaction, repeats back to both hostess and guests every rude piece of gossip uttered by each one about the others.

Perhaps the most graceful spokesman for England’s ‘Golden Afternoon’ – the slow and peaceful years before the First World War – ’Saki’s’ macabre, satirical, and occasionally supernatural tales skewered the banality and hypocrisy of polite Edwardian society, and established him as an undisputed master of the short story and one of the great writers of a bygone era.
  ‘Like Wilde and Wodehouse, ‘Saki’ knew his way round the clubs and country houses of the upper classes, whose absurdities and hypocrisies he exposed with razor-sharp wit.... One is delighted to discover a writer with a vision of humanity shot through with a pessimism as bleak as that of Swift, Celine, Bernhard, Kingsley Amis’ – Patrick McGrath, British novelist

Hector Hugh Munro (pseudonym ‘Saki’, 1870-1916) was the son of a military police offer in British-controlled Burma. After the death of his mother in 1872, he and his siblings were sent to live with extended family in Devon, England. Considered sickly as a child, and subsequently tutored at home, Munro was later sent to boarding school. In 1893, he joined the Indian Imperial police in Burma (where he reportedly kept a tiger cub as a pet) before devoting himself to writing in 1894. While working as a foreign correspondent in the Balkans, Russia, and Paris, he began to publish numerous stories and sketches in newspapers, as well as plays and historical studies. He also received public recognition for a series of political satires based upon Alice in Wonderland. Although officially over age, he enlisted for service in WWI, and was killed in action near in Beaumont-Hamel, France.

References:
New York Review Books, web. Penguin Random House, web. Ford, ‘Lessons from a Talking Cat’ Financial Times 2010.

Octavo (13.5 x 19 cm). pp. 300 [2] [2 (publishers ads)] 16 (publisher catalogue). Publisher’s green cloth, lettered and illustrated in white and black, with an image of a boy lying in a hammock reading a book to upper cover.
  Condition: Near fine, light rubbing to spine, scattered foxing to preliminaries.   Ref: 108314   Price: HK$ 3,800