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The October Country by Ray Bradbury
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The October Country (1955)

by Ray Bradbury

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
To say that I loved this book is an understatement. Here is a book I will covet and revisit each Autumn. I will need to cleanse my brain of all toxic books and reward myself. I am looking forward to revisiting this spooky collection every end of summer like a tradition.

Bradbury dropped so many gems here it is incredible. Even something so simple is written so eloquent and profound, like he writes with the feather of an angel while the devil looks over his shoulder. He dug deep into the morbid terrains with these stories, his horror downright shocked me, as I still see this adorable old man penning Dandelion Wine. This is nothing of the sort!

See below for example of deeply vivid imagery that resonated with my psych:
“In the hall, on her way downstairs, Mother dropped a champagne bottle. Edwin heard and was cold, for the thought that jumped through his head was, That’s how mother’d sound. If she fell, if she broke, you’d find a million fragments in the morning. Bright crystal and clear wine on the parquet flooring, that’s all you’d see at dawn."

and another : for good measure!

“He raged for hours. And the skeleton, ever the frail and solemn philosopher, hung quietly inside, saying not a word, suspended like a delicate insect within a chrysalis, waiting and waiting.”

How about one paragraph that can draw you into another dimension completely? See below!

“Four children were born, three boys and a girl, who, for their energy, seemed to have wings. They popped up like toadstools in a few years, and on hot summer days asked their father to sit under the apple tree and fan them with his cooling wings and tell them wild starlit tales of island clouds and ocean skies and textures of mist and wind and how a star tastes melting in your mouth, and how to drink cold mountain air, and how it feels to be a pebble dropped from Mt. Everest, turning to a green bloom, flowering your wings just before you strike bottom!”

The imagery that short paragraph stirs up inside my mind is… well it has left me speechless! Ray Bradbury was a magician, a wizard of words. He held secret dimensions in his brain, galaxies far beyond our reach.
I miss him, and I always will. No one holds a light to his words. He will always be, by far, my favorite author! No one comes close to ever replacing him.
Farewell for now. ( )
1 vote XoVictoryXo | Jun 28, 2017 |
This books marks one of those perplexing times when I both enjoy something and am disappointed by it. I have a love/hate relationship going on with Bradbury. I loathed Something Wicked, I liked Halloween Tree well enough, and I really liked Farenheit 451. My complaints are simple, and consistent:

1) Bradbury has overwrought description that drags on far too long and reads more like clunky poetry than good prose. In direct defiance of the pyramid of abstraction, flowery metaphor is the default, and concrete language is a second-class citizen. Metaphor just isn't great as a primary descriptive tool. It's a spice, which some use sparingly and some use liberally, but it can never replace the dish it's being used in. Bradbury, seemingly, wants metaphor to be the entire dish. This was by far at its worst in Something Wicked and it drove me up the walls.

2) Bradbury writes dialogue that comes across as stilted, awkward, and robotic. This does vary somewhat as well. Sometimes it's not bad enough to distract you, very rarely it's pretty good (usually when he's trying at humor), but often it sounds like generic character archetypes are speaking rough-draft television scripts at each other (the boys in Something Wicked were the worst for this).

But my entire opinion up until this point has been formed by reading his novels. I've always heard he's the master of the short story, so I thought maybe these problems would disappear when I finally read one of his collections. They did not disappear, but they were toned down (depending on the particular story) and they are more tolerable in this format. I enjoyed this collection, don't get me wrong. Short story collections are hit and miss as a rule, and three stars is a respectable score from me for this format. That said, I, perhaps naively, expected a lot more from the "master" of short stories.

The story Jack-in-the-Box is the only one that I really loved. The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone is very good, though I wouldn't say I loved it. To me those are the only two standouts. The rest were generally decent, but forgettable. A couple, like Skeleton and The Small Assassin are certainly memorable, but only because of a strikingly unique, almost gimmicky premise, not necessarily because the stories themselves do justice to the premise. You'll never catch me saying Bradbury isn't creative and doesn't have great original ideas, it's the execution I'm not so hot on. That said, the only story I actively disliked was The Lake, which is an accomplishment in itself. It was nice not feeling like I was forcing my way through this book, it held my attention pretty much the entire time and was an easy read, just not a deeply satisfying or memorable one.

This has pretty much proven that Bradbury just isn't really for me. There is a mythological amount of hype and reverence surrounding his work that I've finally accepted I'm just never going to fully understand, and that's okay. With the exception of Something Wicked, I don't hate his work with a burning passion or anything. I probably won't be reading Dandelion Wine or Farewell Summer, because Something Wicked has taught me that Bradbury is at his most insufferable when he's pining for his childhood. On the other hand I'll definitely get around to reading The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man because so far his short stories have at the very least been entertaining. ( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
Back in 1932, when he was a child, Ray Bradbury met a carnival magician who touched him with a sword and said, “Live forever.” This wonderful anecdote is indicative of Bradbury’s skills as a wordsmith which have given him immortality. “The October Country” is a collection of tales of the macabre, the odd, the curious, and the bizarre; best read late at night, when the moon is full, the wind is high, and you’re all alone. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Apr 11, 2017 |
Bradbury’s lyrical horror has aged pretty well, with the exception of a really stereotypical portrayal of an African-American in one story, complete with terrible dialogue (that’s not how AAVE works!). Men generally treat women with condescension, but they are not portrayed as right in doing so; their indifference to what women think is just part of the horror that our indifference to the subjectivity of others helps create. Bradbury’s repeating use of circuses, freak shows, exotic-to-the-protagonist locations, etc. helps highlight that the ordinary human heart is where the worst fears and hatreds lurk in his stories. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Dec 28, 2016 |
There's a wonderful quality Ray Bradbury stories have of feeling like something you must have read as a child even if you know that's not the case. These all have that feeling. I think the Uncle Einar stories are my favorite, but there are a lot of gems in this collection. ( )
1 vote jen.e.moore | Oct 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Diamond, DonnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, Joseph A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolley, JanetCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For who else but August Derleth
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OCTOBER COUNTRY ... that country where it is always turning late in the year.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380973871, Hardcover)

Ray Bradbury's first short story collection is back in print, its chilling encounters with funhouse mirrors, parasitic accident-watchers, and strange poker chips intact. Both sides of Bradbury's vaunted childhood nostalgia are also on display, in the celebratory "Uncle Einar," and haunting "The Lake," the latter a fine elegy to childhood loss. This edition features a new introduction by Bradbury, an invaluable essay on writing, wherein the author tells of his "Theater of Morning Voices," and, by inference, encourages you to listen to the same murmurings in yourself. And has any writer anywhere ever made such good use of exclamation marks!?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Haunting, harrowing, and downright horrifying, this classic collection from the modern master of the fantastic features: THE SMALL ASSASSIN: a fine, healthy baby boy was the new mother's dream come true -- or her nightmare ... THE EMISSARY: the faithful dog was the sick boy's only connectioin with the world outside -- and beyond ... THE WONDERFUL DEATH OF DUDLEY STONE: a most remarkable case of murder -- the deceased was delighted! And more!… (more)

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