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The Model

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  15 reviews
After Robert Aickman's death in 1981 the manuscript of The Model, a wintry rococo fable set in Czarist Russia, was located among his papers. Aickman had told a friend he considered this novella to be 'one of the best things I have ever written, if not the very best.' It was duly published for the first time in 1987.

The Model tells of Elena, a grave girl inclined to losing
Hardcover, 138 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by William Morrow & Company
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mark monday
a little girl lives in her dreams, in her icy mansion, her wintry village; as her future approaches, she builds a model of her life to come. the author wrote his horror short stories, his tales of unease and things creeping on the outskirts, his ambiguous tales of dread-filled adults and the closed circles they inhabit; he wrote a novella, about a child, about dreams of the future and an uncertain life, unpublished in his lifetime. the girl meets an odd friend who accompanies her on curious adve ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Readers accustomed to Aickman’s strange stories will likely find the style of this charming novella to be unusual, though hopefully not in an unpleasant way. For me the dreamlike, fairy-tale atmosphere and plotline that Aickman masterfully conjures up was wholly welcome. Here, a young Russian girl named Elena, when faced with two unappealing life-altering propositions—each dictated by one of her parents—strikes out on her own instead, embarking on a mythopoetic journey with just enough burgeonin ...more
T.D. Whittle
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
From the publisher, Faber & Faber : After Robert Aickman's death in 1981 the manuscript of The Model, a wintry rococo fable set in Czarist Russia, was located among his papers. Aickman had told a friend he considered this novella to be 'one of the best things I have ever written, if not the very best.'

Comments from other writers:
'A must for Aickman fans ... A model of eloquent elegant enchantment.' Robert Bloch (author of Psycho)
'He is a weatherman of the subconscious.' - Fritz Leiber
'A Strange
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
I want you to stare at the following sentence for a moment, and think about it.
Indeed, there proved to be nothing very remarkable about the meal that followed, apart from the gorgeousness of the surroundings, the rarity of the fare, and the elegance of the vintages.

That is the sort of humor and irony at the heart of The Model, a short book largely about an innocent trying to handle both the tricky darkness of adult despair and weird trappings of a Kafka-esque take on mythical Russia. Elena, much
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm happy THE MODEL was included in the Tartarus edition of NIGHT VOICES, a dreamy, fairy tale-esque coming of age story as only Aickman could write it. While quite unlike his other stories that I have read, there was still enough elegant strangeness to make this distinguishable as his work. His particular brand of darkness was present, but more subtle, and often whimsical. And I must say I was surprised by the ending, which evidenced a diluted happiness for Elena, the protagonist. It almost fel ...more
Max Nemtsov
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Короткий и вполне потешный, но глупенький текст, отнюдь не "роман из русской жизни", как гениальная "Тщета" Джерхарди, а скорее сюрреалистическая галлюцинация на русские темы. Автор благословенно почти (!) не путает фамилии с отчествами, но персонажи у него играют на балалайках и поют святые песни, носят имена вроде Измены, ходят в меховых шапках под дождем и занимаются прочей осмысленой деятельностью. Также на всех перекрестках стоят полупрозрачные самовары, а нигилисты взрывают железные дороги ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Aickman has many "long-ish" stories, like The Strangers and The Stains (one of my favorites) which are both around 20,000 words. But "The Model" comes in at novella length (31,000~) and is also a bit different from Aickman's typical fare. The atmosphere of strange menace is mostly non-existent here (albeit not entirely), but it does have a dream-like, unreality.

I wouldn't count this among my favorites, but it still has several of those magical Aickman-esque moments where I stopped and asked myse
I loved this little book, I devoured it, I wanted to roll around in it like a happy dog in grass. I wish it were longer. To my knowledge, Aickman hasn't written anything else quite like this. Readers of his short stories will be puzzled and hopefully delighted to know that there's no horror here, and while it is kind of weird, it's not capital-W Weird Fiction at all. It's part fairy tale, part comedy of manners, part coming of age, part wistful teenage fantasy. It also has quite possibly the bes ...more
Jail Flanagain
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
This peculiar book is odd even by Robert Aickman's standards. One reason is that it isn't really much like his other writing. Many of the themes and ideas are but the writing is incredibly simple and lacks the detail that makes many of his short stories so effective. The novel is certainly as dreamlike as much of his writing but it isn't convincing the way that great dreams are. Overall I don't think it is his best work and I wondered if maybe it was unfinished when he died
It is still very inte
James Everington
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting and well written (as is everything by Aickman) but a bit directionless. Very different in tone to his normal, excellent 'strange stories'. A flawed but interesting experiment, perhaps. ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Not generally as good as his short stories, The Model remains an achievement of style. It's very much like a fairy-tale, and benefits from that approach. If you're expecting Aickman's same old tricks, you're sure to be disappointed. ...more
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really did not enjoy this. Aickman was obviously much more at home in the short story genre; both of the novels that he wrote (that I’ve read) have been pointlessly episodic, very slow-moving, and extremely dull.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a charming stroll, but where did it go? Was I just meant to enjoy the scenery?
Paul Kerschen
Aug 21, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
Wonderful magic.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A charming tale of dreams and how they influence the directions that we take in life.
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Author of: close to 50 "strange stories" in the weird-tale and ghost-story traditions, two novels (The Late Breakfasters and The Model), two volumes of memoir (The Attempted Rescue and The River Runs Uphill), and two books on the canals of England (Know Your Waterways and The Story of Our Inland Waterways).

Co-founder and longtime president of the Inland Waterways Association, an organization that

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