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Collected Short Stories of Conrad Aiken (Anglais) Broché – avril 1982

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Amazon.com: 4.8 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb Stories by A Master 25 juillet 2013
Par Big E - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Conrad Aiken is one of the most unfairly neglected writers of the 20th century. During his lifetime he was almost entirely ignored, both by his contemporaries and also the reading public, and since his death this inexplicable situation has only worsened. He was an honest and unusually objective literary critic for many years, and his unwillingness to display favoritism, along with his disinclination to lavish praise upon anyone undeserving of it, was in all likelihood the major reason behind his contemporaries' conscientious denial of recognition for his work.

Anyway, this review is not meant to be a condemnation of the iniquity one finds (and has always found) inside the literary community. Aiken was a true Man of Letters: a superb poet, critic, novelist, and short story writer. Suffice to say that Conrad Aiken was short-changed, and as of yet has not been paid his dues.

Aiken was first and foremost a poet. Like many poets, he had a keen and instinctual understanding of words, structure and style. His prose is beautiful--he has a style which is somewhat reminiscent of Henry James; however, whereas Henry James (especially in his later years) could at times become so circumlocutious as to wear out even the most patient of readers, Aiken's prose flows along smoothly, effectively, and is never hard to digest or understand. He miraculously merges the thoughtfulness and technical brilliance of a James with the straight-forward, no-nonsense story telling of a Chekhov or a Mansfield. He manages to write clearly, yet with more than enough subtle and ingenious artistry to please anyone appreciative of the English language.

But it is not, of course, solely Aiken's prose that delights. The content is after all what matters most, and Aiken accomplishes amazing things with his unique stories.

Aiken was very much a psychological writer. Most of his stories are masterly gems not only because of their plots, but because Aiken's characters and narrators are made of real flesh and blood. One cannot help but become immersed in the story--to the extent, sometimes, where it seems that one is not reading words from a sheet of paper, but rather that Aiken is unveiling, just for you, a long forgotten memory: one that could be poignant or cheering or terrifying, but is always, in one way or another, touching.

These are stories which can be read again and again; they never lose their magic. While obviously not every story in this book can succeed in touching the reader as deeply as I've just now described, I found nonetheless that well over the majority of these stories gave me significant pause.

Most everyone knows "Silent Snow, Secret Snow"--one of Aiken's masterpieces which has been published in countless anthologies throughout the years--but for the most part his fictions are not quite so macabre. Though the stories are all remarkably different from each other, so too are they related. "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" may be his most disturbing, but there are others which I found to be just as powerful, albeit in different ways, such as "Mr. Arcularis", "The Last Visit", "A Pair of Vikings", "Impulse", "Strange Moonlight", "Life Isn't a Short Story", "Your Obituary, Well Written", "No, No, Go Not to Lethe", "Pure as the Driven Snow", and many others.

Like all truly great authors' stories, Aiken's should be read one at a time. I read one story per night for forty-one nights, and I don't believe there was a single one with which I was disappointed, though a small number did not achieve, for me, complete vitality, such as: "Hey, Taxi!", "The Dark City", and "By My Troth, Narissa". But even these stories were a pleasure, thanks to Aiken's wonderful style, superb craftsmanship, and interesting thought processes.

One of the most unique aspects of Aiken was his ability to self analyze. While evidence of this skill is more visibly manifest in his novels, one realizes that in many of his short stories, Aiken is in fact exploring some personal situation or crisis, and I think this is the primary reason for his stories' achieving such convincing realism, despite their occasional exploration of metaphysical themes.

There isn't much more I can say, other than to strongly urge all lovers of literature to give Aiken a try. I honestly can't conceive how Aiken's name has managed to elude recognition and praise by the public thus far, so if this review convinces even just one person to track down a copy of The Collected Stories of Conrad Aiken, then I'll be more than happy. However, because of the relative rarity of this book, I do suggest that one at least read "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" (which should be easy to find, just look through any old anthology of classic American short stories and it will probably be there) before buying a copy. But then again, I suppose that anyone reading this review has already read that story, seeing as it is, sadly, almost the only way (at least for the moment) in which anyone may learn his name.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 When considering these stories, I find myself looking back ... 18 février 2016
Par Tim Cook - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
When considering these stories, I find myself looking back at the man himself, and his tortured soul. Once you see him in "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" you'll never look at another human the same.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent writing. I could truly "see" the surroundings and ... 7 octobre 2015
Par Judith M. Row - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Excellent writing. I could truly "see" the surroundings and the people. However, I should not have read all the stories without changing to another book. His view of the world is grim.
19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 conrad aiken short stories are incredible and unique 13 novembre 2005
Par J. L. Paschke - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Having read a one or two of Conrad Aiken's short stories in college, I really only remembered "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" which just really struck me as unique and having a dark allure. I bought this book and re-read several others including "Mr. Arcularis" which is also unique and such a quick, easy read thats so easy to get into like a quick before-bed read. That story is reminiscent of "snows of kilamanjaro" by hemingway.

I've read others of his short stories here in this book and am continually amazed by Conrad Aiken. I definitely give this one five stars!
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