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Compulsory Games

Robert Aickman

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The best and most interesting stories by Robert Aickman, a master of the supernatural tale, the uncanny, and the truly weird.
Cross Henry James with M. R. James and you might end up with a writer like Robert Aickman, though his self-described "strange stories" remain confoundingly and uniquely his own. Aickman's superbly written tales terrify not with standard thrills and gore but through a radical overturning of the laws of nature and everyday life. His territory of strange, the "void behind the face of order," is a surreal region that grotesquely mimics the quotidian: Is that river the Thames, or is it even a river? What does it mean when a prospective lover removes one dress, and then another--and then another? Do a herd of cows in a peaceful churchyard contain the souls of jilted women preparing to trample a cruel lover to death? Published for the first time under one cover, this collection offers a generous introduction to a sophisticated, psychologically acute modernist whose achievements have too long been hidden under the cloak of genre.

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