eBook Robert Aickman À À Dark Entries PDF ò

'Reading Robert Aickman is like watching a magician work and very often I'm not even sure what the trick was All I know is that he did it beautifully' Neil GaimanFor fans of the BBC's Inside Number 9 and The League of GentlemenAickman's 'strange stories' his preferred term are constructed immaculately the neuroses of his characters painted in subtle shades He builds dread by the steady accrual of realistic detail until the reader realises that the protagonist is heading towards their doom as if in a dream Dark Entries was first published in 1964 and contains six curious and macabre stories of love death and the supernatural including the classic story 'Ringing the Changes' Robert Aickman 1914 1981 was the grandson of Richard Marsh a leading Victorian novelist of the occult Though his chief occupation in life was first as a conservationist of England's canals he eventually turned his talents to writing what he called 'strange stories' Dark Entries 1964 was his first full collection the debut in a body of work that would inspire Peter Straub to hail Aickman as 'this century's most profound writer of what we call horror stories'


10 thoughts on “Dark Entries

  1. says:

    This first collection of Robert Aickman’s “strange stories”—the term the author preferred to “supernatural” “horror” or “terror”—contains pieces which are perhaps conventional than many of the four dozen or so tales that comprise his body of work but they are eually well written and eually disturbing and that is saying a lot Aickman is one of the modern masters—perhaps the modern master—of the weird tale and for fans of the genre new to Aickman this collection is a good place to startAickman’s stories succeed because each is model of design a model undermined and enriched by deliberate lacunae His prose mellifluous and precise provides a frame within which he creates a palpable setting the sort of world which—however fantastic—a reader feels he can navigate and depend upon Then without warning chasms loom rifts in space gaps in time shifts of tone—each without an explanation Suddenly this creepy comfortable mansion of a story threatens us with great holes in the floor and we have no choice but to negotiate around the holes or plunge into them Either way we immerse ourselves in the strangeThe six stories here are all good yet each differs greatly from the others “The School Friend” grammar school girlfriends reunite after years and the old house of the returning woman suggests disturbing revelations “Ringing the Changes” a May December couple in a small seaside village encounter their own mortality and the risen dead “Choice of Weapons” an extraordinarily nightmarish account of love at first sight involving a beautiful eccentric woman a suburban London house of Ancient Egyptian design and what may or may not be a duel “The Waiting Room” a lonely traveler communes with the dead who lie beneath the train station floor “The View” a convalescent middle aged Foreign Service Officer accompanies a Circe like woman to an isle off the English coast and “Bind Your Hair” an engaged young woman visits her husband’s family in the country and encounters a bizarre country ritual The volume also includes a helpful introduction by Richard T Kelly and an appreciative afterward about this prickly often disagreeable man by fellow writer and friend Ramsey Campbell


  2. says:

    such curiously precise sentences so exact so perfectly constructed they tell you everything and nothing it's the meaning between those words the implications of what is not being said that disturbs those slippery places those half conscious spaces admire Aickman for his perfect prose and his marvelous subtlety and his dry dry wit but love him for what he doesn't tell you for taking you to a place where your mind must operate on a different level someplace new and vague and troubling he paints a picture of the night sky the clouds and the treetops and the moon all the stars in all of their strange remoteness it is up to you to turn them into something to make of them constellations and other shapesI was surprised and a bit saddened to see two excellent reviews of this book insist that it is not horror Dark Entries is horror at its most profound horror doesn't simply scare; it inspires dread and a certain kind of chilliness a creeping sort of understanding that the mind often resists he provides a story that will read like a dream and he provides a meaning that he will only hint at; it is up to the reader to connect the two to turn the obliue and the opaue into something that has its own logic nightmare logic Aickman is one of the absolute masters of the horror genreDark Entries is Aickman's first solo collection perhaps this early in his career he was invested in creating horrors that were at least somewhat tangible and familiar somewhat Ringing the Changes has a town that embraces the undead and a couple that becomes trapped there it has a suspenseful and eventually hair raising narrative but it is not about the undead; it is about the distance between two lovers the distance that becomes apparent when contrasting the new and the old a younger woman sees things her way and rushes forward; she may uail in fear but she will dance with the dead an older man sees his age his ineffectuality; he will try to cross a gap and he will fail impotentThe Waiting Room has a traveler stranded in a train station home to ghosts who were buried beneath it is a ghost story and it is not a ghost story it is about loneliness a man as an island a man alone and unconsciously yearning for a community for support in his lonely world he sleeps and lives a brief dream of a happiness he has never had he barely recognizes his own desperate needBind Your Hair has a woman engaged to a man and visiting his perfectly nice relatives in the country a loving home that feels increasingly like a comfy trap a soft and pillowy place where she may lose herself it has a country village where people gather in the evenings their clean strong limbs bared to the moon for what purpose? it has two children a peremptory guide and a savage biter our heroine can barely resist them bind your hair; bind away all that is you and become one of usChoose Your Weapons has a young man fall madly and inexplicably in love with an inexplicable possibly mad young woman it has hypnotism and a doctor who may know all it has a crumbling house and a woman with two faces and a servant who grows younger it has empty spaces at the heart of it the gap between love and the reality of living the excruciating smallness of minds that are obsessed by small things things like money class a name an appearance poverty wealth can love ever be stronger than such small things when one part of the pair values the latter over the former? Choose Your Weapons has one of the most nightmarish narratives I've seen in an Aickman story as well as one of the most startlingly beautifully abrupt endingsThe School Friend has a writer returning to her hometown and finding her friend much changed living in a perhaps haunted house that is notable for its drabness its prosaic and dusty blandness a school friend once uniuely intelligent and idiosyncratic turning drab prosaic dusty and bland the heroine slowly explores the house and the discomfort slowly increases the horror seeps in from the frame until the whole picture is submerged what's it all about? the meaning is hidden between the sentences implicit never explicit a teasing game for the author a puzzle for the reader to work out here are the clues two independent women; sexuality and gendered roles; childbirth and parenthood; a descent into the horrible mundane and an ascent maybe into the terrible unknown my favorite story in the collection


  3. says:

    These stories are surrounded by fog and veiled in ambiguity Decaying mansions and enigmatically designed vacation homes are haunted by both the unknown and the obsessions of lonely visitors Old friends reunite under uncanny circumstances A honeymooning couple is caught in a town's preternatural ritual among the incessant tolling of church bells A lovestruck man must duel with an image that appears from a mirror The waiting room of a deserted train station comes alive in the darkness trapping a traveller with wraiths In my favorite story The View a bride to be visits her soon to be in laws and becomes inadvertently involved in a pagan ritual Each of these stories leaves much to the imagination but the subjectivity adds to the uneasy yet intoxicating feeling of being lost in the maze of an alternate reality


  4. says:

    Newlyweds arrive in a remote town for their honeymoon but the town’s church bells are mysteriously ringing constantly and a disturbed old man tells them the dead are being raised that night A man falls in love with an eccentric wealthy woman – but nothing about her house is uite as it seems An engaged woman visits her fiancée’s family in the country and encounters a bizarre lady who lives in a churchyard These are the “strange stories” he preferred this description of the horror genre of Robert Aickman and this collection Dark Entries is pretty good Aickman’s writing style is the most commendable aspect of this book Some of the most famous horror writers – Poe James Lovecraft King – are excellent at coming up with striking original stories andor visuals but severely falter in the execution; not so with Robert Aickman whose writing is very skilful up there with the likes of Shirley Jackson I was effortlessly drawn into nearly every story within a few sentences and held in thrall almost the entire time – wonderful It’s very accessible and doesn’t feel like it’s over half a century old this collection was originally published in 1964 Where Aickman falls short for me is the stories’ content which are less than impressive It’s not that they’re dull and even the lack of things happening didn’t bother me but those things do make for some fairly unmemorable stories I can just about remember the stories for now but I’ve just finished the book – whether I’ll recall anything about them for much longer is probably unlikely And the endings themselves for each story are very disappointing – anticlimactic even – particularly given how well he develops and sets up everything preceding them They’re just too vague abrupt and impressionistic for my taste Ringing the Changes was my favourite story it’s basically everything I wanted The Shadow Over Innsmouth to be but wasn’t because Lovecraft’s such a bad writer It’s easy to see why this is Aickman’s best known work Bind Your Hair Choice of Weapons and The School Friend all had fine moments the dreamlike atmosphere of Choice of Weapons the creeping horror of both Bind Your Hair and The School Friend and The Waiting Room the shortest story here was also the most traditional horror story about a haunted train station waiting room It’s funny because I complain about how open ended Aickman leaves each story but the one time he gives a clear meaning I’m still not satisfied dude just can’t do endings The View was the only story I didn’t enjoy at all and unfortunately it’s also this collection’s longest An artist sees a different building every time he looks out of the window of his lover’s coastal home and bleh? I felt that most of the stories are flawed as there’s not enough to them and were oddly insubstantial They’re well written though and almost hypnotically compelling and while only one story really blew my hair back Ringing the Changes the book as a whole has definitely made me want to read of Robert Aickman’s fiction If you’re after subtle well crafted horror along the lines of Shirley Jackson Robert Aickman is definitely worth a look and Dark Entries seems to be a fine entry point


  5. says:

    This was a strange but interesting collectionI've been hearing from a number of other readers I trust that Robert Aickman's stories are fantastic I was recently presented with the opportunity to pick up a few of his collections for free and I jumped at the chance Since Dark Entries won the September Monthly Read poll at the Literary Horror group on Goodreads I started this one first These are NOT horror stories Some of them hardly even seem to be stories at allthey're like windows that look briefly on to some strange portion of someone's life and then they move on There is no clear plot or point usually but I found myself thinking deeply about every one of these tales wondering if there were some hidden meaning that I wasn't getting There was one seemingly clear ghost story here The Waiting Room I wonder if it was decided that there needed to be one clear straightforward story included with this collection just to give the reader a break from all the thinking?I think my favorite story in this collection was the last one Bind Your Hair I'm still thinking about it I'm still thinking about Ringing the Changes as well Don't ask me why because I don't knowbut it's still turning round in my noggin just the sameI'm a horror loving galand I cut my teeth on the short stories of King Straub Etchison Bradbury Rasnic Tem and other greats I loved those tales with all my heart and I still do I can't compare my Aickman experience to these other authors That's not to say that I didn't like this collection because I did It's to say that these stories aren't even in the same league as those others It's apples and oranges and both of them taste just fine to me Recommend for fans of weirdness


  6. says:

    My what a puzzling yet wondrous experience reading Aickman is Now it's finally become clear to me why I've seen him so often being talked about in such hushed reverential tones This Brit was an absolute master craftsman of the strange tale as he himself defined the nature of his workThe one thing to be appreciated the most about these tales this collection astonishingly his debut consists of 6 is undoubtedly the prose It's rather gorgeous Timeless in fact See I have a sneaking suspicion that Aickman never cared about plotting at all Not really Naturally there must be a plot in order for there to be a story but in almost every case it mostly consists of a rather basic premise with some modest twists and turns thrown in For a riveting fast moving plot Aickman ain't your manHis primary obsessions are mood nuance the steady unfolding of an inner psychological drama There are no satisfying pay offs to be found at the end His world is an obliue unreal and insecure one populated by neurotics and lost souls Threat is perceived yet very often not actualised That is the essence of Aickman Faber Faber has thus far republished 4 thankfully inexpensive collections of Aickman's work Previously the only way to obtain Aickman other than secondhand was through the lovingly produced hardcovers of Tartarus Press which are admittedly pricey Fantastic publisher but perhaps not the best route to take by way of an introduction For those interested I'd suggest going for these first My utmost and highest recommendation


  7. says:

    To say that Robert Aickman is a Master Craftsman may be redundant If you are unaware that I consider Aickman to be one of the best writers of the 20th century you haven't been reading my reviews Or perhaps you think I'm engaging in hyperbole Make no mistake about it Go into Aickman's work with high literary expectations they will be met and many times exceeded I hate to rely on Neil Gaiman as any kind of authority but even he states about Aickman He really is the best If that doesn't work for you read the last section in here by Ramsey Campbell who was a friend of Aickman's Not only is it an intimate look at the author himself it shows uite clearly the high standards of writing he set for himself and expected of others This does not mean however that Aickman's greatness comes from an effusive use of descriptors or the perfectly placed reveal uite the contrary While Aickman's sentences are masterful works of art they oftentimes only serve as a frame for what is missing It is in what is not there that which remains unsaid that the horror of these stories festers and grows Aickman creates voids that act as pocket dimensions of potentiality as outlined in both David Peaks The Spectacle of the Void and Mark Fisher's The Weird and the EerieTake for example the first story in the collection Dark Entries The School Friend Hear about halfway through this story of old friends returning one expects a jump scare as the protagonist Mel explores the strange home of her friend The abandoned then reclaimed house the strange friend Sally who disappears and comes back changed in a twisted sort of way and who currently owns the dilapidated house the dismembered stuffed animals strewn on the floor any reader can see these as signposts of some sort of abject horror about to reveal itself in full horror Sally discovers Mel inside the house and Mel hears and animal wailing above and a noise resembling that of a pig scrabblingSally who is decidedly insane at this point says Do you love children Mel? Would you like to see my baby? Let me tell you Mel that it's possible for a child to be born in a manner you'd never dream of Will you be godmother? Come and see your god child MelA scuffle ensues and then no mention of the baby At all Nothing The potentiality that is left in the air as it were is positively haunting a terrifying possibility out there in the darkness just around the corner or upstairs somewhere The words in the final sentence shall probably usually banal to the point that we don't even acknowledge that they have been read have now become two of the most horrifying words in the English languageAnd yet in the next story Ringing the Changes we get a sentence like Her expression indicated that she was one of those people whose friendliness has a precise and never exceeded limit I cannot describe that expression to you but I know it I see it and importantly feel it That one sentence does to explain the attitude of the character than paragraph after paragraph of blatant description could ever convey It is exactly the right sentence to convey what Aickman wants us to know about this womanOne must note here also that Ringing the Changes must have had a profound effect on movie director David Lynch Awkward stilted conversation the growing presence of a looming something the unspoken willfully unacknowledged terrors felt by strangers in a community that seems to have gone wrong and the permanent but unknown changes that come to those who have experienced true horror are all Lynch's hallmarks They are all present hereDoes all this mean that Aickman is absolutely comprehensible all of the time? No I was left completely baffled by Choice of Weapons Is it a story of mesmerism? Vampirism? Hallucinatory madness? All of these? None? Lust and unreuited love or a test of love are at the heart of it though there is an overtly political element to it with its emphasis on caste and class Despite my confusion it is an engulfing story especially at its twisted unresolved ending It left my brain churning I loved this vortex Or maybe it was lust?At other times his plots are pretty stock though this is rare I must admit One of the straightforward and predictable stories of Aickman's tales The Waiting Room makes up in execution pardon the pun yes it was intentional what it lacks in originality You know the plot though I'm not going to reveal it you've read it before but you don't know with what exactitude and precision Aickman can write such a tried and true story until you read it yourself His deft crafting adds a dimension lacking in other stories of its ilk but it's not a mere embellishment of existing tropes Aickman truly makes it his and his alone by the way he exercises his auctorial penThe View returns us to the labyrinth of imagination There are few way markers here and the story roils in on itself much as the house in which it takes place and the hostess of the house baffles the protagonist We have here a house every bit as complex as the House of Leaves though much less inimical But whereas Danielewski uses hypertextual methods to open the house to exploration and the reader's imagination Aickman does so with a single sentence Apartments of the most various shapes and sizes led into one another in all directions without doors; and as no two apartments seemed to be decorated alike the mirrors set up a chiaroscuro of reflections co existent with but apparently independent of the rich and bewildering chiaroscuro of the apartments themselvesTake a moment and digest that sentence Who but Aickman could use the word chiaroscuro twice in the same sentence and make it feel like it's the most natural sensible thing in the world? It enables the imagination without jilting the reader's thoughts Yes one may have to read it twice carefully in order to let the image fully bloom in one's mind but it is worth a patient reading and meditationEven in describing the subtleties of the relationships between lovers Aickman shows a deft hand he did not risk another of those so natural interrogatives she so lightly made to seem so heavy and unnecessaryThis sentence speaks volumes about the tension between the two characters of The View but also of the sensitivities of each character toward one another One should not be surprised then to find that The View is winsome and absolutely heart rending It has caused in me a genuine fear of growing old something I have never really felt before This is from the sense of things past and lost than worry about future decrepitude This is the empty hole at the center of nostalgia a true existential dread This story bit deep into my heart It hurt and I am better for itFinally Aickman descends into decadence with Bind Your Hair a story about one innocent's introduction to what really goes on in a rural English village This is folk horror with an Aickmanesue touch the ending leaves us at a precarious point as to what to expect for the heroine; this unpredictability engendering a lasting dread Fear for her safety and innocence continue to rise after the last word is read The potential is there for both good and bad in her future short and long term and we agonize to know what she will choose and which path she will go down and what the conseuences will be We know the stakes are high but the answers to all those uestions are obfuscated from usOnly the reader can supply the final narrative


  8. says:

    My reading experience with Aickman's first collection far eclipsed the one I had with Cold Hand in Mine I found the stories on the whole to be much engaging here but I also think I've become acclimated to Aickman's peculiar style His mastery of the strange is superb—always knowing exactly how much to tell and what is crucial to hold back And he could have delivered a fine workshop on how to write endings to strange stories for nearly every one of his own endings is pitch perfect I enjoyed all the stories in this collection but 'The View' is easily one of the best short stories I've ever read It is basically perfect I'd give this collection 5 stars if it weren't for the smothering layers of unnecessary detail that Aickman applies in certain stories In this collection at least he usually redeems himself later on in a story though so probably of a 45


  9. says:

    A few notes on each story in this pretty much perfect collection The School Friend Aickman invests the theme of the ancestral home that holds dark secrets with a fresh menace and mystery In contrast to this is the notion of friendship surviving the vicissitudes of life and time and offering a measure of clemency Ringing The Changes The atmosphere of slowly building oppression and the growing sense of dread kept me on the edge of my seat What really makes the story are the little weird details about the characters the couple meet in the hotel adding to a sense of reality out of joint Choice Of Weapons A man falls in love with a strange seductive girl who lives in an eerie old house She is lost in a dream of love and so is he Dreamy and startling I picture Eva Green as the girl The Waiting Room Very much a traditional ghost story but masterfully framed for maximum disorientation The View A beautiful sad fable about a man who is pixilated by a magical woman in a magical house and then lives on literally older and sadder There is such a powerful aura of romantic longing and desolation around this story Bind Your Hair A woman visits her fiance's family She discovers a strange yet oddly magical cult centered around a remarkable misfit but rejects it with a firmness that seems like a displacement of her reaction to her fiance's family A beautiful balance between mundane and weird elements both eually unsettling to the protagonist


  10. says:

    All I can say is oh my This book contains a bunch of good creepers Especially Ringing The Changes No wonder Roald Dahl picked Aickman's stories to be in different anthologiesTry and find a copy of this one