Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: The Halloween Tree and The October Country by Ray Bradbury

  "A fast-moving, eerie...tale set on Halloween night. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin's. Enhanced by appropriately haunting black-and-white drawings."--Booklist

Welcome to a land Ray Bradbury calls "the Undiscovered Country" of his imagination--that vast territory of ideas, concepts, notions and conceits where the stories you now hold were born. America's premier living author of short fiction, Bradbury has spent many lifetimes in this remarkable place--strolling through empty, shadow-washed fields at midnight; exploring long-forgotten rooms gathering dust behind doors bolted years ago to keep strangers locked out.. and secrets locked in. The nights are longer in this country. The cold hours of darkness move like autumn mists deeper and deeper toward winter. But the moonlight reveals great magic here--and a breathtaking vista. The October Country is many places: a picturesque Mexican village where death is a tourist attraction; a city beneath the city where drowned lovers are silently reunited; a carnival midway where a tiny man's most cherished fantasy can be fulfilled night after night. The October Country's inhabitants live, dream, work, die--and sometimes live again--discovering, often too late, the high price of citizenship. Here a glass jar can hold memories and nightmares; a woman's newborn child can plot murder; and a man's skeleton can war against him. Here there is no escaping the dark stranger who lives upstairs...or the reaper who wields the world. Each of these stories is a wonder, imagined by an acclaimed tale-teller writing from a place shadows. But there is astonishing beauty in these shadows, born from a prose that enchants and enthralls. Ray Bradbury's The October Country is a land of metaphors that can chill like a long-after-midnight they lift the reader high above a sleeping Earth on the strange wings of Uncle Einar.

My Reviews: I thought these were both fun books that really got me into the spirit of Halloween. The Halloween Tree helped the reader understand how the holiday originated and what different countries believe. It seemed mysterious and almost spooky at times, yet it wasn't too creepy. The author is very descriptive, yet he uses it to his advantage and it makes the story better, instead of becoming too wordy.

I thought October Country was great!! I only read 4 of the short stories, but they all seemed to have endings that left things up to my own imagination. Once again, very descriptive and entertaining, yet not too wordy.

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