Monday, October 31, 2011

From the Dust Returned

I have had a hard time getting into Bradbury. His work is very poetic and his stories show astounding imagination, but I have trouble investing in the stories in the same way I get invested in something by Gaiman or Pratchett. From the Dust Returned is the story of a singular house, inhabited by a unique family. Once a year, the distant relatives arrive, flown in on the wind or running on wolf's legs or flapping on bats' wings. The story begins with one such family reunion and deals with the changing times and their effect on this family.

The main character of the book is a young living boy who lives among the ghosts in the house. He longs to be like them at the beginning of the story, but he gains a deeper understanding of what it means to be like them before the story is over.

The tone of the story is poetic, melancholy, and often beautiful. I felt like the purpose of the story was more to establish a mood than to tell a story, and that mood is one of a quiet wisdom very much like the dusty, nearly forgotten wisdom of the inhabitants of the house in the book.

Though it looks like a novel, the book is really more of a collection of short stories that take place chronologically and follows the same cast of characters. It has a beginning and an end, but along the way the stories meander a bit as they spend time first on one family member, then another.

My favorite story was the one about Uncle Einar, the tall, winged man who ends up in a seemingly ordinary life, with a wife and two children, and yearns for a way to fly again.

I would recommend checking this book out if you are interested in a sweet, somber look at what it means to live and die and perhaps live again.

No comments:

Post a Comment