One of the preeminent writers of weird fiction, Robert Aickman is celebrated for his unsettling and often ambiguous "strange stories", but he once wrote that "those, if any, who wish to know more about me, should plunge beneath the frivolous surface of The Late Breakfasters," his only novel, originally published in 1964.
In The Late Breakfasters, young Griselda de Reptonville is invited by Mrs. Hatch to a house party at her country estate, Beams (which, incidentally, is haunted). There, amidst an array of eccentric characters and bizarre happenings, she will meet the love of her life, Louise. But when their short-lived relationship is cruelly cut short, Griselda must embark on a quest to recapture the happiness she has lost.
Never before published in the United States and long unobtainable, Aickman's odd and whimsical novel is now available for the first time as an audiobook, narrated by Matt Godfrey.
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Charming and Inscrutable
This is a a charming, somewhat inscrutable, novel that never gives you what you expect but is satisfying nonetheless. The tone and prose are full of whimsy that sometimes turns dark, sometimes humorous. Weird and unsettling things lurk at the corners but they are not central.
The reader will experience long tramps in the rain, the eccentricities of the upper class on display during a house party, a couple of unique picnics along with a lightning-strike romance and the aftermath of that encounter. There is an ephemeral quality to everything here as if the reader sort of floats through the novel. Aickman is expressing a lot while saying only a little. If you are a reader who prefers to make up their own mind about things and not be told explicitly what to think this book is perfect for you. There is much to discover here and most of it lies beneath the surface events.
- J. Barnes