Robert Aickman – a new article

Laird Barron’s recent eye-opening article on Robert Aickman’s ‘The Hospice’ HERE.


 Something I wrote in 2013 on my blog:

“I don’t want to harp on about this, but I genuinely think that – at least in
part – that The Hospice (and Into The Wood?) forms a tribute to ‘The Magic
Mountain’ by Thomas Mann and covers many of its themes which you can tick off
one by one. And I think we know that Thomas Mann was one of Aickman’s major
influences according to his letters. But I have been the first to decry this biographical
type of literary criticism based on my life-long interest in the Intentional Fallacy!
So I am torn.”

My original real-time review of ‘The Magic Mountain’ (including comparison with Aickman) started HERE

A book I have compared to both ‘The Magic Mountain’ by Thomas Mann and ‘The Hospice’ by Robert Aickman is ‘The Inmates’ by John Cowper Powys: HERE

“and a dog’s eyes answered his stare with a look of such unutterable loneliness…” – from ‘The Inmates’

My proposal is that Aickman would not only have been a big fan of Mann but also of Powys.

Discussion forum thread about all this HERE.

Orfeo – Richard Powers


I have just received my purchased copy of ORFEO by Richard Powers
Atlantic Books 2014

This sounds as if it should serendipitously resonate with my very recent reading of ‘Doctor Faustus’ by Thomas Mann and my editorship-publication in 2012 of a multi-authored anthology book of Classical Music Horror Stories…


Doctor Faustus – Sabbath’s Theater


During my current sabbatical from real-time reviewing proper, I am due to read , with great anticipation, Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann (received for tomorrow’s Father’s Day) and Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth. The Mann is one I really should have read before now, a novel about a composer, and if it is as great as the same author’s Magic Mountain (my real-time review of it here) – well, surely, it can’t be as great as that! And judging by yesterday’s completed reading of Roth’s American Pastoral (a truly powerful tale of genes with their gloves off, as I put it), then, Sabbath’s Theater looks even more strange and powerful (as a friend has told me when recently recommending Roth to me as a writer to try). Roth is a real find, I feel, for those who share a similar taste for literature as demonstrated by what I have chosen for ‘dreamcatching’ over the last six years…

I continue, meanwhile, to read, in spirts and bouts, the enormous, incomparable Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon, which will possibly take me several months to appreciate properly. I say ‘incomparable’, but if I had read it before 2005 (which I didn’t), then I would have considered it to be a certain influence on my own novel that was published in 2011.


“Yes, wouldn’t life be so much less futile if we could do it at the scale of one-sixteenth inch to a foot?”
— from American Pastoral by Philip Roth



My real-time review of THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN by Thomas Mann who began writing this huge novel in 1913.

This version translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter.

I first read this novel in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and it had a major effect on me. I thought I should reappraise it – with my new style of real-time reviewing techniques – during my ‘maturity’ in 2013!

The results of this review will be found HERE.

Alternatively the parts of this review are shown here in turn: