I read a collection of Ray Bradbury stories and vignettes over the weekend called Summer Morning, Summer Night. It’s been a long time since I read any of Bradbury’s work – since Something Wicked This Way Comes, in fact, which I haven’t read in … what? Twenty, twenty-five years?
I picked it up and it sang of old photographs, sepia-aged and filled with dusty nostalgic roads, wonderful images conjuring cicadas screaming from maples and oaks on canopy-covered streets littered with children playing barefoot on the lawns. A fantastic journey through the author’s growing up in Waukegan, IL, transformed into Green Town for the sake of his fiction. Each little story or vignette covers some aspect of small town life, in a sleepy little village. Not all were set in Illinois, but the sentiment, the feeling, was the same in each.
Because I’ve come to associate Ray Bradbury with creepy or weird things, I kept waiting for something creepy or weird to happen. In one story, a serial killer waits for his next victim in a dark house, lurking. Other than that one, they were all rather charming and lulling. A relaxing, enchanting read, without being boring.
It reminded me how good a writer Bradbury is, how much his work impacts writers in our time, and how much worth reading and studying his work is. While it’s a light read, and a brief one, I still recommend it. It’s a beautiful snapshot of the power words can have to set a scene, provide a slice of life and draw a reader into new, somehow familiar world.
All of which is pretty cool stuff.
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