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The Inner Room

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Published in association with the halifax Ghost story Festival.
Illustrated by stephen J. Clark
Paperback printed on cream bookwove paper and bound by Biddles.

'The Inner Room' by Robert Aickman
'Robert Aickman' by R.B. Russell

"The Inner Room" is a classic "strange story" by Robert Aickman and is open to various interpretations. When Lene chooses an odd and awkward
Paperback, 1st Tartarus edition, 51 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Tartarus Press (first published 1968)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird story, creepy, especially the end... New writer for me, interesting. Intriguing.
Lene, a woman now recovering from the Second World War, recalls a gothic doll's house her parents bought for her in her childhood and the way in which its uncanny inhabitants entered her dreams. Most chilingly, it seems there is a hidden, secret room. Years later, lost in the woods during a walk in bad weather, she comes across a life-size version in a wood not marked on any map with especially weird and
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A creepy, ghoulish little tale of little people...

And of their just deserts (and desserts, perhaps - anyone want a second helping)? Youll see what I mean when you finish this budget-priced novella.

Well, I did want second helpings, when I finished it. So badly, I bought an entire new volume of Aickmans macabre masterworks!

This one is a parable on the old, old adage: the wages of sin are death... but youll see for yourself.

As I grow older, it becomes so much clearer to me how those who mock
Sam Quixote
A little girl is given a dolls house for her birthday. And, because this is a Robert Aickman short story, it turns out to be haunted! Wooooooo, spooky stuff!

I like the idea of the story, which has a kind of Russian nesting doll structure to it, and aspects of it as well, like the hidden room that can be seen from the outside but not found within. And the final act was suitably creep-tastic.

But its a really slow-moving story with not much happening for the most part. Aickmans prose felt
Ben Loory
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
aickman's m.o. is to write with perfect clarity about infinitely mysterious events. his stories don't really work according to classical story structure; or, they do, but they leave many things unexplained. the real story always seems to be lurking behind the story; the process of reading is the process of catching a glimpse of it. they don't so much resolve as finally usher you out and leave you to try to rebuild them in your head. (hopefully, in a way where you can see the story from "all four ...more
Dannii Elle
I am frustrated not to turn the final page and have loved this one more. It was full of all the trappings of a great horror story, but never really felt like to stretched its legs to the full extent of actually becoming one.

A sinister dolls house is bought and continues to haunt its child owner, until her parents discard it. Years later, it returns. The narrative is as simple as that, and really needed nothing more, yet there were additional pages of interluding years and cars breaking down and
Callum McLaughlin
One of the Faber Stories range, this novelette sees a woman reflect on the strange, ornamental dollhouse that both fascinated and disturbed her as a child. Now, as an adult, she stumbles upon a secluded mansion that seems to be an exact replica.

This is another example of a fantastically well-realised concept, and a disturbing tableau that draws on horror conventions to great effect. The prose is solid and the atmosphere builds well towards the heroines final confrontation with her own
Rebecca Burridge
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story that first got me hooked on Aickman, and is still my favourite. First encountered it in a collection of "favourite" horror stories by established horror authors. This one was Peter Straub's choice. A perfectly unsettling story that will haunt your own inner room for the rest of your life.
nicky (theliminaliste)
This made me squeal ! It is creepy to no end, a perfect short story, truly, even though the ending is not as... morbid as I might have hoped for.
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Short book. Was not for me. 2 star rating per GR ("its ok")
Contrary Reader
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky-reads
Aickman doing what Aickman does best: destroying you with an unsettling, off key atmosphere and something unseen and unnatural lurking at the peripheries. Add in dolls and Im legging it out my front door! ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Once upon a time there was a very beautiful doll's-house; it was red brick with white windows, and it had real muslin curtains and a front door and a chimney.
It belonged to two Dolls called Lucinda and Jane; at least it belonged to Lucinda, but she never ordered meals.
Jane was the Cook; but she never did any cooking, because the dinner had been bought ready-made, in a box full of shavings.
There were two red lobsters and a ham, a fish, a pudding, and some pears and oranges.
They would not come
Marcus Hobson
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Aickman was born in 1914 and published his first collection of strange stories in 1951. He went on to publish seven more volumes of them.

In this story we begin in the early 1920s when the two children are young. The family car breaks down and instead of a journey to the sea-side as promised, they are taken to a toy-shop. The description of the shop is bleak and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. It was not merely an out-of-fashion shop, but a shop that at best sold too much of what no
Martin Cosby
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best short stories ever written, surely ...
Leo McKay
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a story of the uncanny. As a young girl, the narrator finds herself in possession of a strangely fascinating dollhouse, and then in adulthood ends up in a real life version of the house.

The first 2/3 of the story are intriguing and told in just enough detail to remain mysterious. However, the time shift forward is abrupt and insufficiently accounted for. And, though creepy and clever, what happens to her inside the life-sized house is rushed and over-condensed.

Uncanny stories are
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Small investment, big payoff. Aickman has long been an undervalued and out of print author but is now experiencing a small revival, and this novelette is an ideal place to start. Like much of Aickman, "The Inner Room" is an entrancing seduction, an impossible mystery, and a melancholy siren song. Here memory, psychology, and the external world overlap and confound one another. This is neo-romanticism at its best, shrugging aside the mundane to expose a secret entrance to unfathomable and ...more
Simon Howard
66-page story in which a young girl chooses a dolls house as a birthday present and creepy things ensue. I don't think I've read anything by Aickman before, but I enjoyed this in as much as the plot kept me guessing and fully engaged: it was a bit of a page-turner.

I sometimes find that I don't enjoy 'horror' stories because the ridiculousness of the situations kickstarts a sense of disbelief and disengages me. This is a short story, and I'm not quite sure I'd call it 'horror', but I remained
Luna Bookish
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
This short horror story was just the right amount of spooky that I needed. Even though it is such a short tale, it really was atmospheric and gave me The Haunting of Hill House vibes. If you want a quick little scare that will leave you a bit uneasy, I recommend.
Mario Díez
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of the best horror stories Ive ever read. It can hardly qualify as horror story as the only thing provoking unrest is an old dolls house. Its more like a weird tale. However, the story is so particular that I was totally immersed in the reading ...more
Miss Bookiverse
It had its creepy moments, especially toward the end, but overall I was disappointed by the lack of explanation/revelation and there were parts where I really had to force myself to focus on the writing and not drift off.
Steven Middaugh
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic Aickman Weirdness

This is tale should be made into an episode for The Twilight Zone. Too bad Rod Serling wasn't around for it. Just when you thought this dollhouse is "haunted", best better think again. This tale had veered off unexpectedly. Read this and find out.
Jayant Kashyap
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Oh the way it keeps you hanging even after the story ends! Although initially quite slow and then the story in its last quarter gains some pace, this is not a badly unbalanced story rather the opposite of it. This one might even stay with me for almost ever. ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shorter-works
Strange, lightly creepy little story.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
So much potential.
Ultimately disappointing.
T P Kennedy
A clever and haunting piece of entertainment. It's unsettling and a very spooky longer story. It's oddly detached and a bit odd.
Joey Hodgson
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of subtle horror
With exceptional prose, this short story leads the reader through a lengthy preamble to notions of suspense and hallucination that might culminate in a climax too subtle to class as a benefit.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The entire story I kept hoping we were going to explore the dollhouse in real life, but it ended before that could even happen. I had different expectations for this story.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Pas du tout compris où l'auteur voulait en venir...
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review soon
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was originally published in 1988 in a collection of "strange stories," and "strange" is certainly an apt descriptor for this one. It's about a girl who is given a dollhouse that does not open and which inspires some bizarre dreams/experiences. Years later, the same character has a very different encounter with the same house.

Though eagerly awaiting the appearance of the dollhouse and the hallucinations/dreams/supernatural elements mentioned in the story's synopsis, I found the story
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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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