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Posts Tagged ‘wine dark sea (aickman)’

Here’s yet another tribute to the master of the uncanny and unnatural from… well, me, I confess. Over at the site devoted to my recently published novel The Possessions of Doctor Forrest – a site partly consecrated to the itemising of the many and various supernatural artworks by which I was influenced in the making of said novel – I thought it important to add Aickman’s name to the roll-call. The influence was unknown to me at the time of writing, in this instance, as I explain; but then Aickman himself would surely have had an easy explanation for the manner in which my cold hand was steered by some ordinary ghost…

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The excellent literary editor/reviewer Suzi Feay has begun recently to blog (‘Suzi Feay’s Book Bag, here) and I am delighted to report that one of her earliest posts is in praise of the oeuvre of Robert Aickman, who is of course a jewel of our fiction collection here at Finds, represented by The Wine-Dark Sea, The Unsettled Dust and Cold Hand in Mine. In her piece Feay displays an true aficianado’s relish of the genre of the ‘strange story’ (ideally “hauntingly unresolved”, “where nothing so straightforward as an errant spirit explains the action”) and a highly refined appreciation of why Aickman was such a master of the form. Along the way she heaps praise on some of the finest Aickman productions – ‘The Inner Room’, ‘Never Visit Venice’, ‘The Trains’, ‘The Cicerones’, and ‘Into The Wood’, which she hails as “perhaps Aickman’s masterpiece… a novella worthy of Thomas Mann, about a woman who discovers an eerie sanitorium for people who never sleep.” She also makes note of Aickman’s wit while sounding the warning that it is rather akin to “the godlike humour of an indifferent creator laughing at his creations.” And she finishes on this lovely note, with the ardency of the true bibliophile:

Aickman has always been a hard author to track down, a name murmured only by the conoscenti. Faber Finds has come to the rescue and reprinted some of his collections at a modest price. They are highly recommended. Part of me wants everyone to read him, and part of me wants to keep him as a secret known only to the few…

It’s a widely shared feeling. But the secret of Aickman is slowly creeping out into the world once again, and we must accept the consequences, however they may fall upon us…

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