Robert Aickman’s Words

“They go,” he said, “because they have reached their limit.  For men and women there is to everything a limit, beyond which further striving, further thought, leads only to regression.  And this is true even though most men and women never set out at all; possibly are not capable of setting out.  For those who do set out, the limit varies from individual to individual, and cannot be foreseen.  Few ever reach it.  Those who do reach it are, I suspect, those who go off into the further forest.”

Margaret’s eyes were shining.  “I know that you are right,” she cried.  “It is something I have long known, without finding the words.”

“We all know it,” said the Colonel. “And we all fear it.  Because beyond our limit is nothing.  It is a little like the Italian parable of the onion: skin after skin comes away, until in the end there is nothing – nothing but a perfume that lingers a little, as the dead linger here a little after death, perfuming the air, and then are gone.”

Excerpted from “Into the Wood”, Aickman’s 1968 short story

5 thoughts on “Robert Aickman’s Words

      1. I’m a big fan. Favourites are Wind up bird chronicles, Kafka on the shore, Hard boiled wonderland and 1Q84. His work always has such powerful imagery and you can never second guess where the narrative will take you.

        Liked by 1 person

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