In high school, Ray Bradbury was one of my favorite authors. I revisited Dandelion Wine a while back and was just as entranced by it as I had been twenty-five years earlier. I'll take that back-- I think it resonated more with me as a nearly 38-year-old than it did as a 16-year-old.
But I had almost no memory of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I know I read it, and I remember the general gist 0f the book-- evil carnival comes to town, two young boys are the only ones who really know what's going on, tension and mystery ensue-- but that was about it. So, when the library got in an Audiobook of Something Wicked, I had to check it out.
What a treat. First off, I read it at just about the perfect time of the year, starting it just before Halloween and finishing it shortly after. Suspenseful, creepy and surprising, the book is made for cool fall evenings filled with falling leaves, and hints of winter. It is a book of contrasts: Good and Evil, Youth and Age, Innocence and Guilt, Day and Night... oh so many wonderful contrasts.
The language is gorgeous. Rich, descriptive yet not heavy-handed or over-wrought ala Anne Rice or Charles Dickens. Bradbury's prose is nearly lyrical, in many ways a poem. Perhaps it is this that makes it sound soooo good read aloud.
The imagery is deep, and beautifully executed, though I suspect some of Bradbury's allusions might be lost on a teenager, or even a twenty-something-year-old. But even if you didn't get all of what he is trying to convey, every reader will get more than enough to be "on the edge of their seat" for much of the book. It also gives a glimpse back through time, to the Depression era and what life in the Midwest was like in the early 1930s.
It is that rare treat of a book that you can't wait to finish, yet you want to last as long as possible because you know there aren't that many books in the world that will delight and entertain you this thoroughly. If you haven't guessed yet, this is most definitely a Rave posting.
Bonus points if you listen to the CD audiobook-- Paul Hecht does a marvelous job narrating the story.