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I am still working my way through The Cat's Pajamas. Recently read the following:
"We'll Just Act Natural"
"Ole, Orozco! Siqueiros, Si!" and
"The House"

I enjoyed "The House" the most of the 3 stories and liked how it had a positive ending and a positive message to it.

"We'll Just Act Natural" bummed me out. I wanted a happy ending on that one.

I am enjoying the mix of older and newer stories, but you can definitely tell the newish stories don't seem as well done.

I'm in the middle of the "John Wilkes Booth...Funeral Train" and it is interesting to me so far. I'm trying to understand what's going on with it.

Anyway, just thought I'd post something here to try and get some discussion going.

13
 
Posts: 77 | Location: Maryland | Registered: 11 April 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The two stories I liked best in this book were "Sixty-Six" and "I Get the Blues When It Rains (A Remembrance)".

But the stories are so different, and the style and intent varies so much, that no two readers are likely to have the same favorites.

I liked "Sixty-Six" because (I think) it is one of relatively few 21st century Bradbury stories, and because the author is trying to make a point about exploitation, which is slightly more ambitious than most of his late stories.

I liked "I Get the Blues ..." because it is just a well done, sweetly sentimental piece, very similar to many others in Bradbury's late years but, as I say, well done on this occasion.

The three stories you mention:

"We'll Just Act Natural" didn't bum me out at all. It's sad, but it accurately depicts a regrettable side of human nature.

"Olé, Orozco! Siqueiros, Sí!" is just a kooky throwaway—not much to that one, but quite clever in concept.

My note on "The House" goes like this: "A young couple (clearly based on the author and his wife, Maggie - the wife is even named so) who move into a run-down mansion which he loves, and she, at first, doesn't. Quite possibly this story waited 57 years to be collected because, while almost completely harmless, it was too personal."
 
Posts: 606 | Location: Cape Town, South Africa | Registered: 29 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the reply douglasSP.
I have not finished reading the collection yet.
I'll make sure to read the 2 stories you mention.
 
Posts: 77 | Location: Maryland | Registered: 11 April 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by douglasSP:
My note on "The House" goes like this: "A young couple (clearly based on the author and his wife, Maggie - the wife is even named so) who move into a run-down mansion which he loves, and she, at first, doesn't. Quite possibly this story waited 57 years to be collected because, while almost completely harmless, it was too personal."


I've been trying to think when any situation like this applied to Ray and Maggie. They started out in an extremely small place, an apartment even, in Venice, and moved from the small house on Clarkson to the larger one on Cheviot, neither of which was especially large, old, or rundown at the time. At no time did they have to renovate a large old house.

I will note that in a number of Ray's stories, some of which could contain very personal elements and were held back until later collections, the wife is portrayed as complaining or grouchy when actually the husband is being overly idealistic and romantic and the wife is forced to be the practical one. One like that is "One Night in Your Life," when the wife didn't want to go into a wheat field at night and the husband didn't like the fleabag hotel they checked into instead. When I first started reading Ray's stories (obviously this one was not out then so I got the idea elsewhere) I convinced my friends a picnic in a wheat field was a great idea. As a result we not only got in a spot of trouble for being out of bounds, but suffered symptoms from skin rashes (I have pictures from that day in which my skin appears bright red) to at least one of the younger kids being violently sick to his stomach. At the time I brushed it off as just being tired from too much sun and fresh air but looking back years later, I realized we must have been poisoned from whatever pesticide was sprayed on that wheat field. And considering this story took place pre-Rachel Carson, whatever they were spraying then was much worse even than what we were exposed to, so even if the guy in the story did not realize it, they were well out of that wheat field!

The other is "Someone in the Rain," where the wife complains about having to tramp through the rain in dress clothing to relive the husband's fond childhood memories of walking to the pavilion. As a wise person once remarked, "Do the math." Men's dress shoes and socks cover their entire foot so at worst they would have damp trouser cuffs and that's it. A woman would be wearing nylons with heels or sandals which would make walking in the rain extremely uncomfortable. Again don't make me go back to my youth--oh, too late! Here goes: I attended a religious academy where the dress code for girls was always skirts, particularly for church, which was in a huge cathedral where even the most stylish pants just wouldn't do. I had no footwear which both covered my foot and looked good with a skirt. After one boy made a particularly cutting remark about a certain pair of shoes, I gave them to my mom who had no shame and wore sandals, even in deep snow. The snow would come in under my foot through the open toe of the sandal and I would have to kick it out before entering the church. Being young I suffered no ill effects from this but it was uncomfortable.

By the way I am not dissing either of these stories. In fact, they rank among my favorites. I just don't agree with the main character respecting his wife being a wet blanket spoiling his good time. It's not just a gender thing but an age thing. The older you get, the more you don't agree.
 
Posts: 6946 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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