COLLECTION by Robert Aickman
PUBLICATION Tartarus Press
ARTWORK by by Stephen J Clark
Jacketed Hard Cover — ISBN 978-1-905784-59-2 [£32.50]
Robert Aickman has received due recognition for his hauntingly poetic and psychologically charged ‘strange’ tales, but what sort of early life fuelled their creation?
The Attempted Rescue chronicles Aickman’s childhood and youth, over which looms the figure of his eccentric father, a man almost entirely resistant to ‘normal’ family life, and a man who Aickman describes as dying ‘from loss of luxuries’. So much of Aickman’s childhood appears bizarre and unyielding of explanation that it is little wonder that his short stories are so odd.
Aickman invests the book with his startling, often politically incorrect opinions on politics, the modern industrial world and his rather bleak view of sexual relationships. But there is also much achingly heart-felt nostalgia in the atmospheric descriptions of pre-World War Two London, the theatre and the large country house of his singular Great Uncle and Aunt.
Aickman displays more than a passing acquaintance with psychoanalysis in this fascinating autobiography, and we can infer that the disturbing images with which he invests his fiction are there by design. Then again, when such a master of the weird tale tells the story of his own life, how far can we be sure that he is not manipulating our expectations as subtly as he does in his fiction?
This edition contains a foreword by Jeremy Dyson, a member of the award-winning comedy team The League of Gentlemen. He has previously published two collections of his own strange stories Never Trust a Rabbit (2000) and The Cranes That Build The Cranes (2010). He has adapted Robert Aickman’s stories for the radio (‘Ringing the Changes’) and film (‘The Cicerones’), and has written a libretto for an oratorio based on ‘The Same Dog’ (music by Joby Talbot). In 2011 he presented ‘The Unsettled Dust’, a BBC Radio Four documentary on Robert Aickman.