Well this is the LA Times, a filthy little paper. I don't know where the author of this piece pulls his opinions, but I have an idea. Why he feels MC is Mr. Bradbury's masterpiece, however, I have none. I seriously think modern west coast writers don't know how to measure a man who does not have their loose ideals.
A friend of mine forwarded the LA Times review to me today. They were a little harsh in parts, but at least they had some pretty nice quotes about his writing style and his influence. I love "The Pedestrian" -- the images are still with me and I read it way back in 1967, and they trashed it. Bad taste, there! :-) But they did praise "The Dwarf" another one of my favorites. I agree that MC was a breakthrough for him. I also agree that it is A masterpiece. But I hold it as part of his troika (F451, MC, SWTWC); but how in the world can you slough off "October Country" and "Illustrated Man"? And other than the reference to the Moon Crater, where was the reference to "Dandelion Wine" in their summary?
Well, as they say, publicity is publicity. I've read they moved the release date from August 22, to August 5th, and I have mine preordered from Amazon, so I'm hoping Amazon ships those things out right on the 5th.
The part of that review that really bothered me was this: "...a writer of sporadic gifts and limited curiosity. He doesn't seem to really know, or care, much about individual people." Limited curiosity? Bradbury seems like a child to me, in the best sense, always questioning, always observing, always wondering. And not caring about people? I think the exact polar opposite is true!! Anyone who writes as beautifully as he does clearly cares a great deal about his fellow man!
[This message has been edited by lmskipper (edited 08-04-2003).]
I couldn't agree more! Bradbury defines life as wonder and curiosity. In person he is about the nicest guy I've ever met. In his writing, he writes movingly and very sympathetically about the human condition.
Having just finished an annual reading of "Something Wicked This Way Comes", a little early I know, I think all Bradbury lovers should join together in a great rush of laughter at the "evil" critics who, in their attempts to flatter themselves in print, choose to denegrate the talent of a great story teller, Mr. Bradbury.
As we now laugh at the terrible reviews, I can hear the mirror-pages in the fun house newpapers shattering and falling away as they did in the House of Mirrors when Will's Dad laughed at them and broke their evil spell. With every re-read of Ray's words I feel envigorated with laughter and instilled anew with imagination. Just keep laughing at them, they will all go the way of the Carnival from Hell.
I agree. With each book sale, with each new generation, with each read and re-read, Bradbury's magic and wonder lives. We will fell the critics with a crescent moon, the bullet of a smile.
Look at it this way. Long after that LA Times reviewer is forgotten, Ray Bradbury will continue to be read, re-read and loved by future generations. It also reminds me of a saying I once heard: "Those that can't themselves, become critics."
I will pick mine up this week from a mediaplay. I read the article, the new book is 894 pages. I think from reading the review The critic read other reviewers references to Rays work, and did not crack the cover to this new text. Rays work has continued in vitality, anyone who can read can tell you.
Then again this review will be likely recycled into next Mondays edition by now, while Bradburys work will live forever in libraries, and kindling free breathing souls.
[This message has been edited by uncle (edited 08-04-2003).]
Good points, all: Ray will definitely have the last laugh. And we will all be blessed by it!
He truly will live forever. And the funhouse mirror analogy was a great one!
Clearly, the reviewer's problem is that he favors "The Martian Chronicles" because he IS from Mars. Dismissing the "Dandelion Wine" stories as a Pepperidge Farm commercial, and the statements about not caring about people and leaving no lasting worlds are about as wrong as they could be. And anyway, Bradbury didn't hike all those miles to Hollywood Studios as a teenager. Most, if not all, such journeys of his were made on roller skates.
hmmm, one of the easiest jobs in the world is to be a critic..
and that reviewer shows how easy his job is..
sometimes its like a truck driver riding a bike, they are not use to the style, so therefore bikes are dumb
(no offence intended to truck drivers)
No matter that some stuff said was dumb, Scott Timberg couldn't help but say some smart stuff too. Means that there is hope for this young man.
Er, um, may I throw a fire bomb here? Just read the review and didn't find it all that negative.
I'll have to give the reviewer some credit for considering Ray as a "California" writer based on the MC stories but I always saw those as more of an echo of the entire westward movement. Didn't realize everyone was actually heading for California rather than a mythical idea of a better world "out west" or, in Stegner's phrase, "the geography of hope." Even so, the reviewer is dead on, in my opinion, on his belief of the power of the MC stories, especially The Million Year Picnic.
I disagree with him on the Waukegan stories seeming like Pepperidge Farm commercials. Perhaps they read that way when taken out of the context of Dandelion Wine, but we've addressed the power of this book in other posts so I won't go there. Suffice to say, the reviewer's wrong here and, so, let's move on, shall we?
Some of the stories' surprise endings don't surprise? Okay, maybe not any more. But I think the reviewer fails to note that he's looking at them through the prism of television shows like Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. . . These, I believe, were inspired by the success of Ray's stories. Perhaps a chicken and the egg kind of question but I think my conjecture holds true. Anyway, I have the same kind of problem with those stories that intend to shock or surprise: they no longer do after knowing about them. Doesn't mean they didn't the first time around. Still, some of those are my least favorites of Rays. As are his Irish stories.
The important question, I think, is really is Ray an Important Writer? I kind of like the reviewer's phrase that Ray is a "gateway drug" of sorts to other writers and, if that's true, then he most certainly is an important writer. And no one can deny, the reviewer included, the power of MC or the resonance and vision of F-451. For most writers, this would be enough to on which to build a solid reputation. Name any other important writer who can claim much more than two books that set the literary world on its ear. Nope, didn't think you could.
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