O Henry

As I avidly devour O Henry’s short stories I’m compelled to sing his praises as a wordsmith! His command of the English language, his artistic embellishments, the depth of his characters and tantalising twists at the end are so engrossing.

William Sydney Porter, O Henry was his pen name, wrote tales that romanticised the common, having spent five years in prison for embezzlement he was himself a colourful character! His mastery of wit, wordplay and clever surprise endings are outstanding.

O Henry portrays cads and tragedy vividly drawing me in with his talent to really set the scene. To paint his characters with refined accuracy to totally transported me into his long ago world of deviousness and treachery. ‘Colourful’ inadequately describes his use of language and eccentric characters. With each story dripping with laconic irreverence, a mode most Aussies dribble daily.

Of course here in rural Australia the library only holds one such story preserved in the depths of their … fearful least this rare gem might decay or go astray. Fortunately a friend kindly lent me her own 1945 copy of a selection of his stories from amongst 600! Gifted to her mother before marriage, she decorated the fly with butterfly wings.

His sharp imagination is awe inspiring, his stories of another world, one not so long past, are intriguing. I like that they average about seven pages with the longest being 25, easy bedtime reading to make one fall into slumber with a smile on the dial.

American enthusiasts may have easier access to his writings in their libraries but as they were composed pre internet there are not so many online, but here are a few.


  1. We are OK. Thank you for asking, Kate. We just got our internet, TV, and house phones back after nearly a week of no service! I am trying to catch up on emails. Not making much progress on my projects.

    We discovered hidden damage to our house from the hurricane and are trying to schedule contractors, as is everyone else, before the rainy season begins in spring. You have to go in person because companies are too busy to answer emails or phone calls. The insurance has been approved for a new roof and some repairs. Hope all is well with you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • “The Gift of the Magi’ stands out in my remembrance. In college, I was an English Lit major and then I taught English Lit for a time. You have to cover so many authors. This is the one piece that stands out. I have to admit, the others do not ‘strike a bell’. From your commentary, I surely have missed something!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We did spend some time on American authors!!! 🙂 It was a bit overshadowed by the rest of our core content classes. You have inspired me to ‘revisit’ some of these stories…If you keep writing these great reviews, you will get us all reading!!!

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  2. Early Bird Books sometimes has a deal on them for some e-readers (I have a Nook and have some). There is also a candy bar called O Henry!, but I don’t think it is related to the author.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was introduced to O. Henry’s stories when I was about 12 years old.
    I devoured them!
    The Gift of the Magi
    The Last Leaf
    The Ransom of Red Chief
    are just 3 that I love! 🙂
    And I’ve seen a couple of films based on his stories.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • somehow I knew you would be familiar with O Henry … films you say, I must seek them out!

      I love so many but the one that made me laugh the loudest was The Ransom, I used to work with kids like that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I thought of you when most stories had a twist at the end … you would absolutely love it deb!

      and that story I read of yours would make 2 great short stories 🙂


    • only one book Dwight with a collection of his short stories 🙂 It looks precious so I made a cover for it before returning it to its owner!

      Seems there are more recent publications available online … I know you would love them Dwight so well worth trying to read some 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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