HAND IN GLOVE by ROBERT AICKMAN
…whereby Aickman indeed doubles up on absurdism, an impish angel-demon version of Aickman hand in glove with the other side of Aickman in Society, but only to become a lost property that we all seek today from his words, well, at least I do. If you don’t leave words meticulously yet wildly couched behind you, what else of you is left, I ask? Only dying memories of dying people. Meanwhile, here we have two disarming Aickman women as in Trains or Go Back At Once etc, visiting for a picnic an Essex that seems right that it is Essex as I was born and still live there. One woman Millicent jilted by — or, rather, jilter of — some man called Nigel and she apparently needs a dose of tender loving care from her spinster-destined friend Winifred …and near their proposed picnic site, a derelict church (“The whole structure was in a state of moulder”) and an Essex woman called Pansy Stock in the ‘vicarage’ or ‘rectory’ and, also, a scenario containing not a Black Mass but a black mass shape ominously threatening, and sudden mushroom growth, and many strangely smelling flowers left over from an equally sudden funeral passing through unseen, and cows in a field that take over Millicent’s Dreamcatcher mind and these cows (if not bulls) somehow bloodily gore a visitation by Nigel in person….and another visitation later where his traditional routine pre-Midnight telephone call to Millicent (even at Winfred’s house) ends up with him in person metaphorically if not bloodily goring Millicent to the heart, a heart tired by tramping round Essex, I infer. From where they went back at once. From the kissing-gates et al, instead of having passed through them, but gone back at once to what? When read alongside the absurdistly or deceptively slow-motion Marriageable, Possessional, Essexual and other themes of his canon of stories, this one gradually takes on a gestalt meaning that you cannot share with other people, but only share with yourself. Hand in glove. This review is the very best I can do for all those other people. If not good enough.
“There was an embarrassing blank in time, while an angel flitted through the room, or perhaps a demon.”
My other reviews of Robert Aickman: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/robert-aickman/