Saturday, November 5, 2016

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Never actually seen this movie
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

Witch Week culminates in our readalong of what might be the quintessential American fantasy novel about Halloween.  I first read Something Wicked This Way Comes about 25 years ago as a teen in Denmark, when I found the small English-language section of the local library and read my way through most of it.  I was nowhere close to being able to read well in Danish yet, and I was dying for books!  Something Wicked This Way Comes was the first one I read, and I only remember one other book from that section (Evil Under the Sun, by Agatha Christie--I'd never really read Christie before).  Anyway, I loved it.  I'd always liked Bradbury's short stories, but I think this was the first time I read one of his novels.

Is there anyone who writes like Bradbury?  I don't think so.  In my opinion he's pretty amazing.  That's not to say that his exuberant, sensory-overload style doesn't get a little tiring in large doses--maybe that's why he mostly wrote short stories, and his novels aren't all that long.

Will and Jim, neighbors and best friends, do everything together.  When a carnival comes to town in October, they sneak out to watch it setting up, but this is not your average carnival; there is something very wrong with Cooger & Dark's show.  They offer entertainment and magic, but in fact they'll consume your soul and crunch your bones, and the boys are not at all sure how they will escape.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is, most of all, a paean to American boyhood--to the joys of running, swiping peaches, and lazy days in the grass, and to the difficult parts too.  It's odd to read now, though, because that kind of boyhood has vanished, never to return. 

It's a wonderful, beautiful, spooky and shivery novel, and I'm glad to have had the chance to re-read it.  It's lodged in my mind for years, even though I'd only read it once and I'd forgotten all but a few phrases and the feeling. 




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*It's probably silly that this  book is the main reason that I have never read The Night Circus; I can't help thinking that it will be a pale imitation.


1 comment:

Lory said...

Funny, I hadn't thought of The Night Circus as derivative of this book (though I read that one first, and maybe that's why). I can see the relationship now, but I think you might still enjoy it.

Thank you for participating in the readalong!