Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked This Way Comes

November 6th, 2009

wicked This is my favorite book. I’ve been reading it in October since I was 16. My edition is from 1967. I finished it for the forty-second time this morning.

The movie was dreadful, did not follow the original idea, and I think may have caused many people not to read the book. Please do not watch the movie.

The beauty of the book is in its language, something that no film can capture. It is the most poetic of Bradbury’s works. As I read it, I kept noting a paragraph here and there that I thought would be good to quote, but there were so many of them that I would have had to transcribe most of the book.

Here is one that I liked. Madam Tarot, the Dust Witch, flies in a balloon looking for Will and Jim. The boys wake up in the night and look out the windows in their neighboring houses. They both feel her coming for them. From page 104:

The Dust Witch.

The Witch who might draw skulls and bones in the dust, then sneeze it away. Jim looked to Will and Will to Jim; both read their lips: the Witch!

But why a wax crone flung out in a night balloon to search? thought Will, why none of the others, with their lizard-venom, wolf-fire, snake-pit eyes? Why send a crumbled statue with blind-newt lashes sewn tight with black-widow thread?

And then, looking up, they knew.

For the Witch, though peculiar wax, was peculiarly alive. Blind, yes, but she thrust down rust-splotched fingers which petted, stroked the sluices of air, which cut and splayed the wind, peeled layers of space, blinded stars, which hovered and danced, then fixed and pointed as did her nose.

And the boys knew even more.

They knew she was blind, but special blind. She could dip down her hands to feel the bumps of the world, touch house roofs, probe attic bins, reap dust, examine draughts that blew through halls and souls that blew through people, draughts vented from bellows to thump-wrist, to pound-temples, to pulse-throat, and back to bellows again. Just as they felt that balloon sift down like an autumn rain, so she could feel their souls disinhabit, reinhabit their tremulous nostrils. Each soul, a vast warm fingerprint, felt different, she could roil it in her hand like clay; smelled different, Will could hear her snuffing his life away; tasted different, she savored them with her raw-gummed mouth, her puff-adder tongue; sounded different, she stuffed their souls in one ear, tissued them out the other!

It gives me the shivers.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is the best book that I have ever read. It tops all the others, and I have read many thousands of books.

Read it! Read it! Read it!

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