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08 November 2011

'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, in spite of his fame, is someone I discovered only recently.  About two years ago, I picked up 'Dandelion Wine' at Hatchard's in London.  I read it as an antidote to the long Winter.  It is a novel full of light, adventure and mystery, like every childhood Summer should be...perhaps.  His use of language is magical.  I can open his book at random and find sentences that give me shivers and set my imagination free.

And so I saw a book titled, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' while browsing shelves at Hatchard's again (yes, I lead a wonderful life).  I picked it up and hoped it was the book a childhood movie is based on.  The cover was proof enough , as it shows a dark man with a top hat.  Then, to my delight, I saw the author: Ray Bradbury.

Once again my imagination sees impossible pictures brought on by the same language I use every day.  The difference is that I can paint a wall, he creates art.  The paragraph that describes Mr. Cooger going around the carrousel and getting younger is as wonderful as any in the book and yet terrifying.  It reminded me of Poe. Bradbury's words are beautifully chosen. The rhythm of his sentences make me smile each time I open his book.

I often suspect that some people I know are innately bad and some people are angels in my life.  This book reminds me that we make that choice, the choice for good or evil or to do nothing.  These choices happen not just in youth when girls become women, but every day.  Old men, mothers and lightning rod salesmen chose from moment to moment between good and evil . I chose to listen to the troubles of a friend and I chose to rejoice for the good luck of someone else.  Alternative behavior could include selfishness, indifference or envy.  The act of choosing makes us good or evil.  You do not necessarily have to act on your thoughts, the thoughts themselves are enough.  Bradbury plays with this fear of your own thoughts and desires.  All the times you internally tell yourself you are too old to do bungee jumping, or too long married to show up with roses, you are committing an act of evil by limiting yourself and killing your own dreams or romance.  The carnival he describes feeds on these small deaths and fears of every day life.  Small, petty, unkind thoughts, desires to be young or to be older for example, are equally tasty.  I never did like carnivals anyway, what a relief I am not alone.

I could continue writing in admiration and awe, but I doubt Bradbury needs it.  I am so overwhelmed by his creative, magical use of language that as I read my own words I am more and more embarrassed.

ISBN: 9780575083066

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