Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

Author: Ray Bradbury | Page Count: 272

'He knew what the wind was doing to them, where it was taking them, to all the secret places that were never so secret again in life.'

Green Town, Illinois, a quiet Midwestern town, is home to best friends William Halloway and Jim Nightshade, both aged thirteen; one was born as the day ended, the other born as the day begins. They've much in common but also reflect each other, thriving on the mirror image differences. You'll recognise them. They’re you and me. They’re everyone that ever lived or ever will. Tapping into the archetypal and imbuing it with magic is one of Bradbury's many talents. His currency is emotion and he spends it without reservation.

SWTWC is a timeless study of childhood and loss of innocence, wrapped up in a dark fantasy that will excite or terrify depending on the age of the reader.

In truth, the story is a vehicle for the subtext to cling to. Characters are invaded and appear to paradoxically invite the things that terrify them the most. If you’re young you'll identify with the boys and share their sense of adventure. If you're an adult, if you understand the duality of change and the pangs of nostalgia, you’ll discover a truer, more poignant aspect. The further removed you are from the boys’ age the more poignant that subtext will feel and its affect on you will become intimately personal because optimism is a fragile thing.

It’s Bradbury at max level.  It’s much darker than his other works and he doesn't try to hide it. The wonderfully named Mr. Dark is painted in shadow colours for a reason. His prose style, that word association game he plays, is evocative of so many things all at once that it left me dizzy with joy. There's a lengthy scene in a library that had me literally wide-eyed with awe.

The ending is a little cheesy but doesn't diminish the journey, the pace of which is your own heartbeat.  Novels are rarely this close to perfection.

5 spins on the creepy carousel out of 5

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