PositiveThe New YorkerIn Aickman’s fiction, peculiarity is intertwined with a drab twentieth-century realism that is very English and sometimes dryly funny. Think Philip Larkin, or Barbara Pym, gone eldritch ... That the habits of these characters are far from exciting only intensifies the gathering strangeness; at some point, and it is always hard to tell exactly where, logic jumps the rails, which is to say that one finishes an Aickman story not really knowing if it has ended in reality or hallucination, waking or sleeping, the land of the living or of the dead ... Aickman does not isolate trouble within a particular object or document, which, if properly handled, will bring that trouble to an end. Instead, Aickman‘s characters will tend to arrive at a wholesale purgatory—but perhaps, amid their daily routine, that is where they already were.
Sylvia Plath, ed. by Peter K. Steinberg & Karen V. Kukil
PositiveThe New Yorker\"The assuredness of Plath’s late poetry, written from about 1961 up to her death, was a thing that she worked very hard to achieve. Her letters, on the other hand, are undisciplined and effusive, running on at length … The belief among many of Plath’s devotees seems to be that if we can get clear of other people’s fingerprints on her texts, allowing Plath to ‘fully narrate her own autobiography,’ as the editors here describe it, we will at last solve the riddle of her. The extremities of her poetry will balance against the circumstances of her life; the latter will equal the former. But her griefs were ordinary; it is what she did with them that wasn’t.\