Fiction Reviews

From the Dust Returned

(2001) Ray Bradbury, Earthlight, 16.99, hrdbk, 205pp, ISBN 0-7432-0759-9

This is a "fix-up" novel built around Bradbury's stories about the strange Elliott family, The Traveler, Homecoming, Uncle Einar, The April Witch, On the Orient North, and West of October. Bradbury's lyrical prose takes us on a journey through a family gathering, seen through the eyes of the human 10-year-old, Timothy, who has been adopted as the family historian. Finding that the increasingly secular world is no place for special people, the clan gravitate back to the house after the homecoming celebrations and attempt to find a way to continue to exist.

This is typical, which is to say lovely, Bradbury fare, full of his childhood joys of Halloween and his usual nostalgic wonder. It was originally planned to be illustrated by Charles Addams (of Addams Family fame) but, sadly, he died before completion of the work. The Morrow edition in the States does have a Charles Addams cover, but Trevor Scobie has done an excellent job on this English release. Fans of Bradbury will exult in his playful use of language and soft-toned images, and any new novels by this giant of the field is a cause for celebration. Unreservedly recommended.

Tony Chester

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