Another collection of stories that, although not quite of the same consistantly high standard as those in Cold Hand in Mine, was still remarkably good.
You see the thing about Aickman is that even when the stories aren't quite as interesting and gripping as the others (such as "Growing Boys", "The Fetch" and "Never Visit Venice"), they are still a pleasure to read because his prose is so engaging. I whole heartedly agree with S.T. Joshi when he said: "There are few writers who are as purely pleasurable to read, regardless of their subject matter or the success or failure of their actual work, as Robert Aickman."
But there are some superb stories in here. "The Trains", "Your Tiny Hand is Frozen", "The Inner Room" and "Into the Wood" were all outstanding. Aickman at his best. Most of the stories had the author's typical ambiguity and obscurity to them which some readers will not enjoy, although for me this is one of the things I like best about his writing. Although stories like "The Wine Wine-Dark Sea" and "The Fetch" were comparatively direct and explicit.
A note on the text. I don't think I have encountered a book so full of textual errors and mis-prints in my lifetime of reading. I'm not particularly a stickler for grammatic accuracy but this was getting ridiculous, to the point where it was marring my enjoyment of the book. I might well have marked it down a star accordingly but I think it's an unfair reflection on the author and his stories. One doesn't exactly have a lot of choice at the moment but if you can find this book in another edition, I would definitely avoid this one.