Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Robert Aickman: Into The Wood

The Jambliachus Kurhus- a sort of hotel-cum-sanatorium for insomniacs- in Robert Aickman's novella Into The Wood- is such a convincing creation that I did some research online to see whether such places actually exist. As far as I can see they don't- not even in Sweden.

Perhaps they should.

There are those who think Into the Wood is Aickman's best story. It is perhaps the one that does most with least. There's no meat-and potatoes horror, no spook- the uncanniness is wholly a matter of implication and atmosphere.

Aickman's insomniacs walk at night in the maze of woodland paths that surrounds the kurhus. Sometimes they pass from the local wood into the larger forest- and then they're never seen again- which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

The unknown is just that. Paint devils on the darkness if you so wish.

As Col Adamski says, making a sort of a case for insomnia,"I stopped sleeping, stopped dreaming. Dreams are misleading... because they make life seem real."
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