If you enjoyed Joan’s early story about Sir Denis and the Devil you might like to see how he appears in Joan’s later writing – the Devil that is! Here he meets a young Polish officer in a small fishing village, hoping to lead him astray, but this hero is no Faust and things turn out rather differently…
‘Reading in Bed’ is in The Monkey’s Wedding,
published by Small Beer Press, read online here.
The collection is described by Publishers Weekly:
Focusing largely on prolific British fictionist Aiken’s early works from the late 1950s and early 1960s, this imaginative posthumous collection includes among others six never before published short stories and two originally published under a pseudonym. “Honeymaroon” chronicles the adventures of a castaway typist who lands on an island inhabited by sentient mice; “Girl in a Whirl” features a motorcycle-riding, man-hating, daredevil albinoess; “Octopi in the Sky” follows a man haunted by images of cephalopods; and in “A Mermaid Too Many,” a sailor’s exotic present for his lover–a mermaid in a bottle–has unforeseen consequences.
The charm and unrestrained quality of Aiken’s early stories are put into stark perspective by an essay from her daughter Lizza, who offers up glimpses into a particularly difficult period in her mother’s life: Shortly after the end of WWII, widowed and homeless with two young children, Aiken made the bold decision to support herself and her family by writing. Wildly inventive, darkly lyrical, and always surprising, this collection–like the mermaid in a bottle–is a literary treasure that should be cherished by fantastical fiction fans of all ages.