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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

The Stories of William Sansom

The Stories of William Sansom - William Sansom The breadth of this collection is difficult to describe. I think I may have read all of one Sansom story before this. How do you describe a collection that includes a terrifying billiards game with a madman that leads to meeting one's future fiancee, a man facing an escaped lion, a country walk turned bad, stray dogs (these are the protagonists) in Tuscany, a lover with a strange gift, an estranged couple spending a terrifying night in a stone quarry, and firemen saving a cat from a tree? Somebody mentioned Sansom as Aickmanesque and he was also known during his time as "the British Kafka." Neither of these does him justice. The Kafka thing I just don't get at all except that at times his characters are unnamed and somewhat faceless. However there is an Aickmanesque quality at times to some of these stories in that characters are placed in situations where disturbing (to the protagonist) occurrences lead to that person questioning their beliefs or habits. However, right next to it, these may be a simple story about the people of an evening in a pub. There are sad, happy, tragic, and equivocal endings. People are strikingly changed in one story while in others people remain oblivious to the absurdities in their lives. Sometimes people become all too aware of who they are and cannot cope with the truth of it. However, there is no template for a Sansom story.Except for one story, "A Woman Seldom Found," there isn't a single overtly supernatural-seeming incident in the entire collection, so don't expect spooks and spectres and the unexplained: all things can be explained by logic and coincidence or fate (however unlikely that seems at times).There are 33 stories here and an excellent introduction by Elizabeth Bowen and a small author bio. Since this particular Faber Finds edition is available as a print-on-demand (PoD) or ebook, it is generated from a machine scan of one of the original editions. You know what that means: TYPOS. Its worth it. Not as bad as the FF Aickmans, but you are gonna find them; get used to 'em, embrace 'em, read through 'em, after all you know what should have been there.Sansom seems to be largely forgotten, at least here in the US. His best known work: Fireman Flower and Other Stories has been out of print for years and even poor copies of second editions command a high price. Faber Finds has reprinted a number of his novels and this collection, but never "Fireman." I couldn't find a single contemporary edition of "Fireman" on Amazon US or UK. I also could not find another ebook of Sansom other than this collection.