Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Model: Robert Aickman

The Model was published posthumously. I don't know if that means it was the last thing Aickman wrote or just something he tucked away in the bottom drawer. If it's the latter it wasn't because he thought it sub-standard because he's on record as telling a friend it was one of his best. My guess is he wasn't sure how to sell it- or who to sell it to. He was known for writing "strange" stories- and while The Model is certainly strange it's more fairy-tale than horror story- more Carroll than Poe- and altogether delightful- and delight is not what he was known for. Odd things happen, some of them very odd, there is cross-dressing and gender fluidity, but threat and danger- though they exist- plentifully- are easily held at bay. Are you staying overnight in the manor of a brutish, wife-murdering baron? Just lock and bolt the door and even though he'll spend much of the night hammering at it you'll enjoy a good night's rest.  Is it a fable about art and the artist? Or about the passage from childhood to adulthood? Probably both- but the word "fable" suggests  linearity and Aickman's fiction disdains the linear. The model, by the way is the model theatre a young girl builds in an attic room with the tools her absent brothers have left lying around. 

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