Monday, December 03, 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes

One of the side effects of having children in high school is they end up buying a lot of paperback editions of books for their required reading lists. Since these are often books I read in high school, I've occasionally rescued them after they are no longer needed and re-read them.

Today I finished Ray Bradbury's novel , Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I'd first read when I was a teenager.

I confess, it took me a long while to get through it, which is surprising, since it is a relatively short novel (the Bantam paperback edition was a mere 215 pages). The poetic narrative voice, often singled out for praise, dragged the story down much of the time. The writing became opaque: I found it hard to loose myself in the story because the prose-poem style got in the way.

This stylistic approach also had the effect (for me, anyway) of flattening out some character development, since emotional depth was sometimes sacrificed (or at least compressed) on the altar of the well-turned phrase. These people just didn't seem real.

The whole thing reminded me of a phrase I often used when I used to teach painting: if someone can tell how hard you've worked on something, you haven't done enough work.

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