Title/Author: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.
Narrated by: Paul Hecht.
Publisher: Recorded Books.
Favorite character: Charlie and Will Halloway.
All in all: Whimsical.
Favorite Quote: "Beware the Autumn People." ~Charlie Hollowell.
Synopsis: The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.
The show is about to begin. ~Goodreads.com
This was a lovely story to listen to in October. The fantastical and spooky elements lent itself well as the leaves changed, swirled to the ground and the evenings grew chilly. For me, the story was a lot about regret and coming to terms with it. The boys, Will Halloway and Jim Nighshade regret that they aren't older and able to take thier imaginary adventures to a more real level. Charles Halloway, Will's father, regrets his own aging and seems at times morose in his own mortality. However, as the story progresses they both see how their circumstances should be accepted and played out naturally.
The writing, setting and characters are fanciful and rich. The whole scope of the story is delightful. The creepy and eerie events work well within this dark and dangerous carnival creating a sinister tableau around the characters.
Paul Hecht did a good job with the narration. He was very conscious of who was speaking. Fast and excited for the children, slow and deliberate for Charlie. I really noticed and appreciated this differentiation. It was also apparent that Mr. Hecht was enjoying reading this classic.
I love the relationship between Will and Charlie. Charlie found marriage and fatherhood a bit later in life and so appears to have a different relationship with his son than an active young man who can play baseball and chase a child around. However, I think it is more Charlie's perception of himself that has kept this father and son at a respectful distance from each other. The love and adoration is still there and apparent as each fiercely protects the other. What's more important is the Will trusts his father and Charlie believes in his son and therefore, they are able to beat evil.
My only complaint I have with Something Wicked... is my complaint with Bradbury's writing as a whole and that is that sometimes I feel it's a bit...much. Kind of like gilding the lily at times and also the meandering of thoughts and philosophical ideas that the characters or narrative indulges in. However, Bradbury's imagination is so enchanting that it is quite easy to overlook this and immerse yourself in his voice. It's almost as if his stories pulls you back into a time when things were seemingly slower and sweeter and forces you to step into the story and immerse yourself.
Despite any feelings that anyone may have regarding flaws in Something Wicked This Way Comes, it is a classic and has much to say about the nature of human fears of growing old, of being left behind, of losing something. It is an important piece of fiction in subject matter, style and for me contributes a slice of "Americana" to the literary world.