Something Wicked from Ray Bradbury

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I just finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It’s a great book; entertaining and fast-moving but also big on atmosphere and creepiness. Written in 1962 it’s about two 14-year-old boys who have a harrowing experience with a nightmarish travelling carnival that comes to their Midwestern town one October. The novel’s title was quoted directly from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes.”

The first third of the book is really good. The language is so powerful that it almost feels like poetry. The last third is also great and the ending is actually quite moving. The whole thing is a metaphor for growing up. The second third flags a bit and suffers from being too fast moving! It feels like there’s one climax on top of another without any time to reflect. It feels like sacrilege to criticise the genius of Ray Bradbury but I think the pacing is a bit off in this book. It also suffers from having too many villains in the shape of the members of the carnival.These are minor points, though, and overall Something Wicked is a true classic.

 

 

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