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From the Dust Returned (2001)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,446379,172 (3.74)29
Ray Bradbury, America's most beloved storyteller, has spent a lifetime carrying readers to exhilarating and dangerous places, from dark street comers in unfamiliar cities and towns to the edge of the universe. Now, in an extraordinary flight of the imagination a half-century in the making, he takes us to a most wondrous destination: into the heart of an Eternal Family. They have lived for centuries in a house of legend and mystery in upper Illinois -- and they are not like other midwesterners. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands. And some sleep in beds with lids. Now the house is being readied in anticipation of the gala homecoming that will gather together the farflung branches of this odd and remarkable family. In the past-midnight stillness can be detected the soft fluttering of Uncle Einars wings. From her realm of sleep, Cecy, the fairest and most special daughter, can feel the approach of many a welcome being -- shapeshifter, telepath, somnambulist, vampire -- as she flies high in the consciousness of bird and bat. But in the midst of eager anticipation, a sense of doom pervades. For the world is changing. And death, no stranger, will always shadow this most singular family: Father, arisen from the Earth; Mother, who never sleeps but dreams; A Thousand Times Great Grandmére; Grandfather, who keeps the wildness of youth between his ears. And the boy who, more than anyone, carries the burden of time on his shoulders: Timothy, the sad and different foundling son who must share it all, remember, and tell...and who, alone out of all of them, must one day age and wither and die. By turns lyrical, wistful, poignant, and chilling, From the Dust Returned is the long-awaited new novel by the peerless Ray Bradbury -- a book that will surely be numbered among his most enduring masterworks.… (more)
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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Maybe you've had the experience of not liking something because it turned out not to be what the marketing said it was? Seems to happen with films a lot e.g. films that are a lot more cerebral than the dumb action movies they are made out to be - or the opposite. The trouble with this is it isn't the fault of the artists involved. Maybe if you'd come to it "blind" you'd have liked it. Or if given an honest impression of its nature, you said, I'll skip this one until I'm in the mood for it and did so, you'd have liked it. I try to counter this as best I can and judge the work on its merits, not those of the advertisers trying to manipulate me (with success).

As an aside, I'm reminded of a question I like to ask people: which films have trailers that are better than the actual fims? I put forward Stallone's Cliffhanger and Michael Bay's Pearl Harbour.

Well, the same can happen with books, as From the Dust Returned proves, because this is NOT, nor ever has been, Bradbury's latest novel, as it says on the cover of this edition. It's a compilation of short stories written over a period of several decades,concerning an overlapping set of characters, locales and most of all, moods and themes. The principle pieces are all old, by which I mean, published in previous collections and I had read most of them before. There are also a fairly large number of short pieces that are new, added mainly to turn the collection into a kind of complete fictional history - but not a novel! So I was faced with the fact that I wanted to read a novel and was faced with a short story collection. I resolved this problem by picking up a real novel by somebody else.

The history here is primarily that of the Elliot Family and the House they live in. The Elliots are Special; one has wings, one can slip her mind into anyone or anything, whilst not moving from her bed. Others may be vampires. If you've read much Bradbury you may well have come across an Elliot Family story or others with a similar mood of Gothicism and nostalgia for superstition and story, such as Usher II. The same fear of too much enforced "sanitisation" is dominant in Fahrenheight 451, too. But there is a problem here. There is a uniformity of atmosphere, technique and imagery that gets stale when presented with so much of it at one time. In other words, you have to either spread it out over a long period of reading or risk purple prose overload. Similar problems are sometimes remarked upon when reading Saki short stories and H.P. Lovecraft shorts, too.

That said, some of the new material is excellent - I particularly liked the beginning pieces about the early history of the House and it's first occupants and, standing alone, some of the older stories are Bradbury greats. See my review of [b:The April Witch|120553|The April Witch (Classic Stories of Ray Bradbury)|Ray Bradbury|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266476558s/120553.jpg|116083], which is included here as The Wandering Witch, for instance. The trouble is that this family of stories about the Family jostle and crowd each other, when squashed into this small space contained between the covers of a single volume, with no leavening. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
I have long loved Ray Bradbury's writing. One of the earliest fantasy/science fiction books I read was The Martian Chronicles. From the Dust Returned reminds me of that book with its loosely connected stories that are linked through their themes. The theme of this book is darker with a family of odd characters, some darkly so.

The unifying characters are daughter Cecy whose mind wanders the earth and son Timothy. He'd be considered "normal" by most people, but he is the one who is different and carefully loved by his family.

I would suggest this book to people who are fans of Ray Bradbury or people who enjoy atmospheric dark fantasy. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jun 9, 2019 |
Vintage Bradbury, with all that implies. Great imagination, wonderful description, weird characters, and not a whole lot of coherent plot. Read this as a collection of vignettes or short stories, not as a novel. I loved the Many Times Great Grandmere, who is a mummy stored in the attic.

Read this at Halloween - that's its mood. The afterword, in which Bradbury explains that this was originally planned as a collaboration with Charles Addams, is very interesting. ( )
1 vote JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
If you read primarily for the sound of the words, you'll probably enjoy this book. Bradbury certainly packs in descriptive images. Unfortunately they are images which don't resonate with me. I've read some of his books long ago, I enjoy a lot of science fiction, but I have no connection with this focus on the weird and dead. ( )
1 vote juniperSun | Feb 8, 2018 |
In an odd way the best part of this comes when it is over, and Bradbury tells us in an Afterword how it was created from 1945 to 2000. I don't want to spoil that. If the reader didn't already know this is a book for Halloween, and it was born when Ray Bradbury was a child who had a very imaginative Aunt. This overall story is built primarily on some of Bradbury's early short stories, and one or two I have read before, most certainly "Homecoming". This is a return to October Country. I found it a very satisfying read and liked it much more than his "Halloween Tree." Bradbury's writing really shines here and although there are some weaker parts to this overall story he managed to do this so well that it really made me smile.

My paperback copy has a delightful inside 2 page spread double cover which was done long ago by Charles Addams to illustrate these stories. ( )
  RBeffa | Oct 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
added by DoctorDebt | editPublisher's Weekly (Oct 8, 2001)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Addams, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mousli, LillianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

Folio SF (251)
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To the two midwives of this book: Don Congdon, who was in at the beginning in 1946, and Jennifer Brehl, who helped bring it to completion in 2000. With gratitude and love.
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In the attic where the rain touched the roof softly on spring days and where you could feel the mantle of snow outside, a few inches away, on December nights, A Thousand Times Great Grandmere existed.
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Ray Bradbury, America's most beloved storyteller, has spent a lifetime carrying readers to exhilarating and dangerous places, from dark street comers in unfamiliar cities and towns to the edge of the universe. Now, in an extraordinary flight of the imagination a half-century in the making, he takes us to a most wondrous destination: into the heart of an Eternal Family. They have lived for centuries in a house of legend and mystery in upper Illinois -- and they are not like other midwesterners. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands. And some sleep in beds with lids. Now the house is being readied in anticipation of the gala homecoming that will gather together the farflung branches of this odd and remarkable family. In the past-midnight stillness can be detected the soft fluttering of Uncle Einars wings. From her realm of sleep, Cecy, the fairest and most special daughter, can feel the approach of many a welcome being -- shapeshifter, telepath, somnambulist, vampire -- as she flies high in the consciousness of bird and bat. But in the midst of eager anticipation, a sense of doom pervades. For the world is changing. And death, no stranger, will always shadow this most singular family: Father, arisen from the Earth; Mother, who never sleeps but dreams; A Thousand Times Great Grandmére; Grandfather, who keeps the wildness of youth between his ears. And the boy who, more than anyone, carries the burden of time on his shoulders: Timothy, the sad and different foundling son who must share it all, remember, and tell...and who, alone out of all of them, must one day age and wither and die. By turns lyrical, wistful, poignant, and chilling, From the Dust Returned is the long-awaited new novel by the peerless Ray Bradbury -- a book that will surely be numbered among his most enduring masterworks.

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