The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
This one is maybe my favorite book and story. I first read it long time ago, when I was about 8-9 years old. Ever since R. Dahl has been one of my favorite authors and story-tellers. I wish he was still with us to write more stories like this one…This famous tale is actually a story-within-a-story-within-a-story-within-a-story.So, someone really needs to read the book, in order to understand completely the meaning. Henry Sugar does not exist. Still, I cannot believe that Dahl made him up completely….
“Henry, an independently wealthy man who enjoys gambling, decides to try to master the art of meditation and discovers that he is a “one-in-a-million” type of person whose natural psychic powers are much more easily honed. After only three years, Henry masters the ability to see through playing cards, and can even predict the future to a mild extent. Henry unnaturally uses these abilities to help him in a casino; however, when he arrives, he discovers that months of disciplined training have altered his personality, making him more perceptive to the greed of those around him. He uses his powers to predict which number will win on a roulette wheel, then later makes a great deal of money at the blackjack tables. While there, he also realizes that he must be careful; though he could easily “break the casino”, the media attention caused by such an event would get him in trouble.
Henry walks home with enough money for a “large car or a small cottage” – surprisingly, though, he is uninterested in the cash. He realizes that the thrill of winning or losing has been eradicated: he is guaranteed to always beat the house. Henry tries to decide what to do with the money, then abruptly decides to literally throw it out of his window. Soon, a near-riot breaks out as the people of London rush to collect the twenty pound notes falling from Henry’s apartment. A police officer arrives at the scene and scolds Henry, suggesting that he find a more legal form of charity-for instance, he could donate money to orphanages.
Henry is struck between the eyes at this idea, and vows to establish the most well-equipped and supportive orphanages on the planet. He enlists the help of a his accountant who works as his personal banker. Originally, Henry’s plan works well-until he reaches Las Vegas. There, he unknowingly collects a huge sum from three casinos owned by the same Mafioso. A bellhop at the hotel Henry is staying at warns him of the danger; the two switch clothes, and Henry escapes unharmed. After this narrow escape, Henry flies to Hollywood, where he enlists the aid of a famous makeup artist to create various disguises and false identities to protect himself.
At the end of the story, the author reveals that he was selected, seemingly at random, to write Henry’s story, as the man has died. The narrator is shocked to hear all of the events, and also comments that Henry’s wish came true-the Henry Sugar Orphanages, established all across the globe, are indeed the best in the world.”