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Dark Entries

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,196 ratings  ·  160 reviews
'Reading Robert Aickman is like watching a magician work, and very often I'm not even sure what the trick was. All I know is that he did it beautifully.' Neil Gaiman

For fans of the BBC's Inside Number 9 and The League of Gentlemen

Aickman's 'strange stories' (his preferred term) are constructed immaculately, the neuroses of his characters painted in subtle shades. He build
Paperback, 238 pages
Published June 5th 2014 by Faber Faber (first published June 1964)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Bill Kerwin

This first collection of Robert Aickman’s “strange stories”—the term the author preferred to “supernatural,” “horror,” or “terror”—contains pieces which are perhaps more conventional than many of the four dozen or so tales that comprise his body of work, but they are equally well-written and equally disturbing, and that is saying a lot. Aickman is one of the modern masters—perhaps the modern master—of the weird tale, and, for fans of the genre new to Aickman, this collection is a good place to s
mark monday
such curiously precise sentences, so exact, so perfectly constructed. they tell you everything and nothing. it's the meaning between those words, the implications of what is not being said that disturbs. those slippery places, those half-conscious spaces. admire Aickman for his perfect prose and his marvelous subtlety and his dry, dry wit. but love him for what he doesn't tell you, for taking you to a place where your mind must operate on a different level, someplace new and vague and troubling. ...more
Janie C.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories are surrounded by fog and veiled in ambiguity. Decaying mansions and enigmatically designed vacation homes are haunted by both the unknown and the obsessions of lonely visitors. Old friends reunite under uncanny circumstances. A honeymooning couple is caught in a town's preternatural ritual among the incessant tolling of church bells. A lovestruck man must duel with an image that appears from a mirror. The waiting room of a deserted train station comes alive in the darkness, trappi ...more
Sam Quixote
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Newlyweds arrive in a remote town for their honeymoon but the town’s church bells are mysteriously ringing constantly and a disturbed old man tells them the dead are being raised that night. A man falls in love with an eccentric wealthy woman – but nothing about her house is quite as it seems. An engaged woman visits her fiancée’s family in the country and encounters a bizarre lady who lives in a churchyard. These are the “strange stories” (he preferred this description of the horror genre) of R ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Char by: James Everington
This was a strange, but interesting collection!

I've been hearing from a number of other readers I trust that Robert Aickman's stories are fantastic. I was recently presented with the opportunity to pick up a few of his collections for free, and I jumped at the chance. Since Dark Entries won the September Monthly Read poll at the Literary Horror group on Goodreads, I started this one first.

These are NOT horror stories. Some of them hardly even seem to be stories at all...they're more like window
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
My, what a puzzling, yet wondrous experience reading Aickman is. Now it's finally become clear to me why I've seen him so often being talked about in such hushed, reverential tones. This Brit was an absolute master craftsman of the "strange tale", as he himself defined the nature of his work.

The one thing to be appreciated the most about these tales (this collection, astonishingly his debut, consists of 6), is undoubtedly the prose. It's rather gorgeous. Timeless, in fact. See, I have a sneaking
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To say that Robert Aickman is a Master-Craftsman may be redundant. If you are unaware that I consider Aickman to be one of the best writers of the 20th-century, you haven't been reading my reviews. Or, perhaps, you think I'm engaging in hyperbole. Make no mistake about it: Go into Aickman's work with high literary expectations - they will be met and, many times, exceeded. I hate to rely on Neil Gaiman as any kind of authority, but even he states, about Aickman: "He really is the best". If that d ...more
My reading experience with Aickman's first collection far eclipsed the one I had with Cold Hand in Mine. I found the stories on the whole to be much more engaging here, but I also think I've become more acclimated to Aickman's peculiar style. His mastery of the strange is superb—always knowing exactly how much to tell and what is crucial to hold back. And he could have delivered a fine workshop on how to write endings to strange stories, for nearly every one of his own endings is pitch perfect. ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A few notes on each story in this pretty much perfect collection:

The School Friend: Aickman invests the theme of the ancestral home that holds dark secrets with a fresh menace and mystery. In contrast to this is the notion of friendship, surviving the vicissitudes of life and time and offering a measure of clemency.

Ringing The Changes: The atmosphere of slowly building oppression and the growing sense of dread kept me on the edge of my seat. What really makes the story are the little, weird de
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Normally when I review one of Robert Aickman's collections, I ramble on about his masterful craftmanship of strange tales, his lush and supple prose, talking much about the author's style in general. But I'm not going to do that this time. Let's face it, if you're thinking of picking this book up you are already a hardened fan. Unless you're extraordinarily lucky to discover this tucked away out the back of some dusty old second-hand store, you're paying a lot of money for one of these fine but ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is oh my! This book contains a bunch of good creepers. Especially "Ringing The Changes".

No wonder Roald Dahl picked Aickman's stories to be in different anthologies.

Try and find a copy of this one.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Robert Aickman is quite the writer. When he is good he is amazing. He has the ability to paint masterpieces with words. His characters can be extremely complex and humanly vulnerable.

The story I most enjoyed in "Dark Entries" (His second collection of stories following "We Are for the Dark: Six Ghost Stories") is the story called "The View" (Which was originally printed in his first collection "Six Ghost Stories"). The story concerns the protagonist a gentleman named Carfax a vulnerable and exh
Arun Divakar
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
A reviewer or a group of reviewers ( I don’t remember who specifically) called Robert Aickman a writer who has produced fantastic works in the horror genre. If ‘Dark Entries’ is any indicator, then Aickman is not a horror writer at all ! His prose is lush and the emotion that it switches on is unease, a very profound one at that too. The kind of unease that makes a clammy sweat break out, give you an itch behind your eyeballs and makes your head jerk up when the curtain by your window sways in t ...more
Yórgos St.
My second favorite Aickman collection (so far at least) after Sub Rose which is the first Aickman collection that I read and my personal favorite.

- The school friend : A quintessential Aickman story that it will make you wonder days after you read it and eventually you will read it again. The second time you will find more clues in order to unlock the story's secrets and themes.

- Ringing the changes : One of Aickman's more celebrated stories. More straight forward than the first story of the co
Tristram Shandy
“When you live entirely among madmen, it is difficult to know how sane you are.”

Dark Entries was my first encounter with the “strange” stories written by Robert Aickman, and it was an immediate bull’s eye experience with me, partly because of the moods and situations the author deftly conjures up, partly because of his remarkably unerring use of language. Last year, I tried reading Ligotti, and after a handful of stories decided to give up on him because the florid and overstrung style of that a
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, mystery
This collection of stories mostly did not creep me out, despite the accolades of being a great horror writer. But they were certainly strange stories, as Aickman himself preferred to call them. There’s a great atmosphere in some of them, and his writing is careful and precise. Somebody else described the atmosphere in some of the stories as “reality out of joint”, and that’s definitely true — for these characters, ostensibly belonging to our normal world, something jolts out of place and everyth ...more
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection is a good deal shorter than the other Aickman collections out there. It's about half the length of "The Unsettled Dust," "Cold Hand in Mine" or "The Wine-Dark Sea" -- especially when you take out the Introduction and "Robert Aickman Remembered" (interesting as those may be.)

Two of the stories ("The Waiting Room" and "The View") are of lesser quality than Aickman's average. But I think both this, and the shorter length are made up for by the other four stories, all of which are e
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, I certainly have new material for my nightmares.
Perhaps the best aspect of these short stories are not the plots in themselves, but the writing. Truly, Aickman strikes fear through his prose, not his events. His sentences are so elegant, so chilling, so clear yet so confusing, that you will find yourself thinking it must be some shortcoming of yours that you did not read between the lines. In actuality, that's the warranted effect.
Any action seems to exist solely to complement the writin
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was the first of what I already know will be several excursions into the world of Robert Aickman, who--along with Ramsey Campbell--is almost universally acknowledged amongst critics as the finest writer of horror fiction of the latter half of the 20th century. Well, finally I took the plunge thanks to these nice new Faber & Faber paperback editions of his previously difficult-to-locate work, and I decided to start with his earliest solo collection. I have to agree that I'm mightily impresse ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
One star seems very harsh, but in the end, I really "did not like it".

Or perhaps the problem was that the stories didn't live up to the hype. Robert Aickman is being lauded as this brilliant writer of strange stories and while the writing itself is certainly good and very aesthetic, the stories are mediocre at best. They simply don't deliver. Aickman starts of with great, atmospheric descriptions and set ups that then kind of dwindle away, leaving the reader often with open endings and always w
Richard S
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aickman writes music; almost Mozartian at times, you feel as if a word were added or removed, the effect would be spoiled. His particular style of subtle, creepy horror is literate too, Shakespeare creeps in, and others. What I like most is the realism of the reactions, nothing is taken for granted, everyone is doomed, but nothing seems forced. The quality of the writing is exquisite, here's a sample:

"Slowly but unmistakably the tension of community and sodality waxed among them, as if a loose m
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird
I've been on a real Aickman kick recently having just finished The Wine-Dark Sea I heard about a group read for this title and decided to join the discussion. This collection definitely had a "darker"(no pun intended) feel than Wine-Dark but I still wouldn't really call this horror. Weird, yes. Bizarre, absolutely. Loaded with subtext, without a doubt. I did enjoy this collection a bit more than Wine-Dark but that is directly related to all the discussion during the group read. I truly believe A ...more
I bought this because I heard a radio documentary about Aickman describing him as "the best author you've never heard of", and that his stories were a truly chilling example of the horror genre.

I'm afraid to say that this collection of short stories didn't really convince me of any of that. Aickman died in the 1980s, and I found all of these stories difficult to date from the descriptions of dress, technology and general attitude of the characters. The stories are very much like those of M R Jam
Hugo Emanuel
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I had read Aickman praised frequently, often even lauded as the best writer of strange fiction of the 20 th century. Considering my enjoyment of horror and strange fiction Aickman's praised tales were an obligatory stop, one from which I had anticipated reaping a great deal of deadfull pleasures and delights. And altough I thoroughly enjoyed most of the tales in this collection (the only one I have so far read from Aickman), I found most of them to be just little more than slightly original take ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Now I have to admit that I've never heard of Aickman (not that I can recall anyway) or his reputation so I picked this up solely on the fact that there is a major endorsement from Neil Gaiman on the front cover. And while they weren't as terrifying or as scary as I thought they were going to be based in the blurb on the back, all of the stories really were a perverse joy to read. The style of story and writing puts me in mind of Stoker and Poe and Dahl's adult works where the reality of what is ...more
Roy Elmer
I had never heard of Robert Aickman, but it seems to me that it's safe to say that few people have. He's not Shirley Jackson, she of the haunted houses, or Lovecraft, with his twisted Cthulu. He is something altogether different and dare I say it, a little more refined than both of these behemoths of horror / dark fantasy fiction.

Robert Aickman's work is thoroughly English. Not contemporary English perhaps, but a reflection of the England of our grandfathers. A certain amount of emotional repres
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
A great collection of six dark, weird, unsettling tales. My personal favourites were The Waiting Room, very much a ghost story, and Ringing The Changes, a holiday that doesn’t quite go as planned. All of the stories were enjoyable in an unsettling, what the hell did I just read kind of way.

After some of the stories I was left thinking what the hell just happened, but I certainly enjoyed the ride. I originally gave this 4 stars, but the more I think on each story the more I think it deserved a 5
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hooray for Faber & Faber for re-releasing these Aickman collections! I'm not crazy about the covers of these newest editions, which are way too cutesy and do not reflect the seriously eerie content at all, but hey, if that's what it takes to lure new readers. I loved Cold Hand In mine, The Unsettled Dust and The Wine-dark Sea, which were all outstanding and worthy of many, many re-reads. Compared to these three volumes, Dark Entries, while undoubtedly a five-star read, wasn't quite as impressive ...more
Brian Kenny
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A collection of weird tales by the talented Robert Aickman. The weird tales as he liked to describe them were not so much cut throat horror but cerebral psychologically based horror in the same style as H P Lovecraft's short stories and Henry James classic tale'The turn of the screw and M R James. The stories in this collection are certainly weird. The six tales have running through them vulnerable characters going through what seem like very unusual and aften creepy situations; the tales that d ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Robert Aickman was an accomplished practitioner of the "strange story", and this collection has some of his best. "Ringing the Changes" is probably his most frequently anthologized story; a newly-married couple honeymoon in one of the strangest towns ever, where church bells ring incessantly all day and night. "Bind Your Hair" is about a young woman visiting her future in-laws for the first time; she takes a walk in the countryside to escape the oppressive atmosphere of their home, and of course ...more
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Robert Aickman Re...: Dark Entries: Curious and Macabre Ghost Stories (1964) 10 49 Oct 05, 2019 10:25PM  

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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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