I liked this piece on Bookslut by Greer Mansfield about the fiction of Sheridan Le Fanu, M.R. James, and Robert Aickman. I haven’t read much Le Fanu or James. In fact, I didn’t even realize that I own a copy of Le Fanu’s collection, Madam Crowl’s Ghost and other stories. Which I obviously need to read soon.
Here’s something Mansfield said about Aickman, which I would have said in my Aickman post if I had thought of it:
Aickman never spells out his meaning. His stories end abruptly and inconclusively, and in fact the “meaning” is less important than the utter mysteriousness of what happens. Like a true poem or a vivid dream, Aickman’s stories hover on the edge of being understood, but never quite are. They are meant to be listened to and wondered at, and their mystery grows stronger the more one puzzles over them
And an interesting interview at The Center for Fiction with a writer I’m unfamiliar with named Steve Almond. I like his attitude toward big publishing and the need for doing it yourself sometimes but not all the time. Some good bits like this:
That’s the fundamental design flaw in the publishing industry: It pairs an artist with a corporation. Occasionally, this produces a great piece of art that makes all parties involved dough. More often, a literary book loses money—all but one of mine have—and the writer winds up feeling like a loser because his piece of art didn’t move more units. That’s a pretty crazy way to measure success.