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Conrad Aiken was a genuine man of letters, unjustly neglected today Novelist, critic, and poet, whose verse was honored by a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize he was also a superb story writer.A childhood tragedy left an indelible impression on Aiken When he was eleven, his father shot first Aiken s mother and then himself Aiken related the circumstances of his parents death in his autobiography It has been suggested that much of Aiken s interest in psychology Conrad Aiken was a genuine man of letters, unjustly neglected today Novelist, critic, and poet, whose verse was honored by a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize he was also a superb story writer.A childhood tragedy left an indelible impression on Aiken When he was eleven, his father shot first Aiken s mother and then himself Aiken related the circumstances of his parents death in his autobiography It has been suggested that much of Aiken s interest in psychology stemmed from that shattering incident Aiken once said that his short story Silent Snow, Secret Snow a psychological portrait of a disturbed boy was a projection of my own inclination to insanity Certainly, Aiken was interested in the psychology of his characters He explores personal situations, crises, betrayals, pettiness, infidelity and all kinds of mental instability Some critics quite justly compared him to Henry James, Katharine Mansfield and Guy de Maupassant His haunting short stories should be read one at a time, and again and again Silent snow, secret snow and Mr Arcularis are probably the most well known, but I think the whole collection is a gem which deservesrecognition.4.5 stars I hadn t intended to read every story in this collection and, in retrospect, I probably could have safely skipped about half of them, but if I hadn t read this book from cover to cover I would have missed some gems hiding among theforgettable ones On the whole, I d say that Conrad Aiken was by no means a master of the short story form, but he was certainly a master of the evocative image, insightful characterization, and sharp dialogue and these elementsthan compensate for the repe I hadn t intended to read every story in this collection and, in retrospect, I probably could have safely skipped about half of them, but if I hadn t read this book from cover to cover I would have missed some gems hiding among theforgettable ones On the whole, I d say that Conrad Aiken was by no means a master of the short story form, but he was certainly a master of the evocative image, insightful characterization, and sharp dialogue and these elementsthan compensate for the repetitive, slight, and sometimes even nonexistent plots Aiken often used in his short stories The details of an affair often extramarital, but sometimes not seemed to be a favorite of his, and these were among the least memorable, if only because there were so many of them that I would be hard pressed, now, to distinguish them from one another Yet, when Aiken spread his storytelling wings a bitcreatively, he wrote some beautiful short stories Below, for my own sake, I outline each story along with admittedly uncouth star rankings Bring Bring an at home nurse cares for a delicate woman while flirting with the woman s husband The Last Visit a self centered woman visits her ailing grandmother for the last time Mr Arcularis a man who survives a dangerous operation sails to England to recuperate The Bachelor Supper a man who s getting married grudgingly attends the party his best friend has set up for him Bow Down, Isaac the narrator recollects visiting his aunts farm as a young boy, and being fascinated with the neighboring farm s peculiar inhabitants A Pair of Vikings the story of a husband and wife team of trick motorcycle riders Hey, Taxi a girl invades a cabbie s off duty car, and refuses to leave Field of Flowers a man reflects on his affair with a married woman, and considers buying her a gift Gehenna a kind of hazy, mystical, metaphysical pondering of life, etc., via a hazily drawn character The Disciple a man has an unsettling encounter with a shopkeeper who claims, with increasing earnestness, that they are the living embodiment of Judas and the Wandering Jew Impulse a man decides to act on an impulse, and ruins his life The Anniversary a married man s anniversary is tomorrow, and he spends the evening with his friends, fantasizing about chorus girls and complaining about his wife Hello, Tib a man watches a kitten explore a commuter train platform Smith and Jones a kind of allegory pertaining to I don t know quite what the erosion of Western civilization or something By My Troth, Nerissa a man composes an insulting letter to his girlfriend in his head, while waiting to meet her for dinner Silent Snow, Secret Snow Aiken s most famous story, which is supposed to be rather unsettling but which left me thinking, primarily, Kids are weird, man Round by Round a newspaper reporter converses with a colleague and writes a letter to his promiscuous girlfriend Thistledown a married man recounts his encounters with a Holly Golightly esque character State of Mind a sort of ghost story Strange Moonlight a young boy obliquely wrestles with the death of a neighborhood girl The Fish Supper a man whose wife has left him goes to dinner with a colleague he doesn t like, his colleague s wife, and another woman then he plays a cruel trick on his colleague s wife I Love You Very Dearly an estranged father writes a letter to his married daughter about her affair with another man The Dark City a sort of parody, maybe , of a working man s ideal home life Life Isn t a Short Story an author sitting in a diner ponders writing a short story The Night Before Prohibition a married man reminisces about his affair with another woman before and, briefly, during his marriage to someone else Spider, Spider the widow of a man s best friend tries to convince the man that he should be with her rather than his sweet but vapid girlfriend A Man Alone at Lunch a poor man laments his girlfriend s need to go to an old flame for money Farewell Farewell Farewell a young woman on an ocean liner falls in love with a married man Your Obituary, Well Written a man spends time with a dying novelist apparently a roman a clef of Aiken s last meeting with Katherine Mansfield A Conversation a man tries to convince another man that his girlfriend is not as innocent as he thinks she is No, No, Go Not to Lethe an oddly detached, borderline sociopath engages in a sort of pedagogical affair with the girl who lives across the hall from him in a boarding house Pure as the Driven Snow a man who s very worried about his reputation meets up with his chorus girl girlfriend All, All Wasted a young woman who considers herself to be quite interesting is excited to arrive home where her father is entertaining a writer, only to become irritated when the writer does not pay her the close attention she believes she deserves The Moment a very funny story in which a man abroad attempts to seize the moment with one of a bevy of beautiful English girls The Woman Hater two medical students introduce their showgirl friend to their woman hating roommate The Professor s Escape a man tells two friends about an affair he had on an ocean liner, which inspires one of his friends to attempt something similar with his landlady The Orange Moth an oddly beautiful story about a struggling writer who envies hissuccessful hack writer colleagues The Necktie a man abroad leaves his wife in their hotel room to experience Parisian nightlife on his own, and has a memorable encounter with another woman O How She Laughed a man tells a story about his parents and a superficially boisterous couple that lived upstairs from them West End an aging prostitute tells a man her story Fly Away Ladybird a man visits the mother of his illegitimate child in the country I became intrigued by the fiction of Conrad Aiken who is known as well for his poetry from seeing the Night Gallery dramatization of Silent Snow, Secret Snow I got the book and was so affected by the story that I read it three times in three days I am now two stories away from reading the entire collection and Conrad Aiken has become one of my favorite authors and poets Silent Snow, Secret Snow is still my favorite Aiken story, but there are several others that come close to having tha I became intrigued by the fiction of Conrad Aiken who is known as well for his poetry from seeing the Night Gallery dramatization of Silent Snow, Secret Snow I got the book and was so affected by the story that I read it three times in three days I am now two stories away from reading the entire collection and Conrad Aiken has become one of my favorite authors and poets Silent Snow, Secret Snow is still my favorite Aiken story, but there are several others that come close to having that power The story is haunting, beautiful, disturbing, mesmerizing, very much like cold winter s night in the dead of winter It reads as smoothly as well written prose yet possesses the beauty and meaning of poetry.Of the entire collection, there was only one story I didn t care for and there are many, many stories in the collection I don t care for writing critical reviews I mainly will only recommend a book if I love it, and the fiction and poetry of Aiken, I cannot recommend highly enough Easily, in my opinion, one of the best American short story authors ever And Silent Snow, Secret Snow would presently make my top ten stories, probably top five, possibly number one of my all time favorite short stories of all time.His writing inspired me to bring my writing up to another level which can only be done with the heart whole intelligence love, not by the will of the mind Loving something this beautiful can help you transcend yourself, or, what you thought you were These are poetic tales from an author who, while primarily known for his poetry, was a novelist and critic as well The scope of the stories collected here range from the familiar to the bizarre, the mysterious to the romantic Included are the well known frequently anthologized stories like Mr, Arcularis and Silent Snow, Secret Snow , but also some not collected previously with all selected by the author with the wish that it includes those stories he desired to preserve The result is a mag These are poetic tales from an author who, while primarily known for his poetry, was a novelist and critic as well The scope of the stories collected here range from the familiar to the bizarre, the mysterious to the romantic Included are the well known frequently anthologized stories like Mr, Arcularis and Silent Snow, Secret Snow , but also some not collected previously with all selected by the author with the wish that it includes those stories he desired to preserve The result is a magnificent and absorbing volume that should delight all lovers of short stories My favorite stories in the collection are the ones that play with perception What is real What is dreamed What is poetic eccentricity What is mental illness But, of course, being short stories they make absolutely no attempt to answer these questions They just pose them I find that maddening actually. Conrad Aiken seems to be a good writer I found myself reading and enjoying his stories, but then when I came to the endings, I found myself unsatisfied Things were not resolved adequately, for me at least, which is why I say he SEEMS to be a good writer This did not happen in all cases, but in most of them. |Free Pdf ♵ The Collected Short Stories of Conrad Aiken ⚖ This indispensable volume, which includes the classic stories Silent Snow, Secret Snow and Mr Arcularis, is a testament to the dazzling artistry of one of the twentieth century s most influential writers A young woman passes through the countryside to visit her dying grandmother for a final time A cabbie, exhausted from a long day s work, fights to get an intoxicated woman out of his taxi A man on his way to a bachelor party tries to come to grips with the brutishness that lies within every gentleman and finds that Bacardi cocktails do nothing to help A master craftsman whose poetry and prose offer profound insight into the riddle of consciousness, Conrad Aiken thrills, disturbs, and inspires in all forty one of these astute and eloquent tales Quite a good compilation of Aiken s stories Two of my favorites are included Mr Arcularis and Silent Snow, Secret Snow The latter, a story about a young boy s falling into madness, is one I ve always loved The prose is almost hypnotic just beautiful You can tell the author was also a renowned poet. These stories really creeped me out at times the were pleasingly absurd,pychologically funny and disturbing.Secret Snow,Silent Snow is the most well known shortstory it was featured on an episode of Night Gallery narrated by Orson Welles But the story is much betterof course. Exactly what it says it is, the collected stories and what wonderful stories they are.