Something Wicked This Way Comes

By Ray Bradbury

Rating: 5 stars

After hearing about Ray Bradbury’s death last week, I resolved that the next book that I would read would be one of his, and I had picked up this one at this year’s Eastercon as I’d never read it, so it was the obvious choice. The book was beautiful to read, as Bradbury’s work almost always is for me, and has a sense of horror permeating it, as two boys fight the horrific Mr Dark’s carnival when it rolls into town one October.

Like much of Bradbury’s work, this is set firmly in time and space, taking in that wide-open small-town midwest America that Bradbury loved, in a time that felt not too far removed from his own childhood, as he showed with his loving crafting of Will and Jim, his two protagonists, on the cusp of growing up, but still young enough that running together is the best thing you can do, and love is a word to be approached warily. The evocations of autumn also strongly place this book, with the word pictures blooming vividly in my head, something that Bradbury was the master of.

Mostly when I’m reading, I skim the actual text, so that I can get a sense of the story and what’s going on, but with Bradbury that misses half the point. His language is practically prose poetry and you need to read it slowly to appreciate that. In fact, I think Bradbury would be incredibly well-suited to audio books, as there is a rhythm and cadence that comes out when spoken aloud.

This is a book that I sort of wish I’d read in my youth, as its young protagonists would have certainly chimed even more closely with my teenage self than they do to me now. I’m just glad I got to know them at all.

Book details

Publisher: Bantam
Year of publication: 1962

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