The October Country by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The October Country is a collection of horror short stories, published in 1996. Fifteen of these stories have been previously published in Bradbury's other collection Dark Carnival, in 1947.
My brother and I bought this book about four years ago, and we both loved it. My only complaint is that I remember these stories too well to read them again.
Unlike The Martian Chronicles or The Dandelion Wine, which are collections of short stories, edited to be full-length novels, The October Country consists of nineteen stand-alone stories, that have nothing in common. But there is a red thread throughout the whole book, and all the stories contribute something to the overall tone and feel of the book. Once you've read them, you realize they do have a lot in common after all. They're all about exploring the dark side of the human nature. October was an important month in Bradbury's fiction. You have the chill, the darkness and, of course, Halloween. And these stories are really meant to be read in this time of year, when the bright hot days of August and September are still fresh in your memory, but the weather is all but pleasant, and there are long dark winter months ahead of you. Of course, I don't mind, I love autumn.
There is no gore to be found here. Bradbury once again proves, that you don't need blood and oozing guts to tell a story that sends shivers down your spine. It's like Bradbury throws his characters into horrible scenarios and then watches them trying to crawl out of there. In other words, you don't want to be a character in any of these stories. And there's humour too. Dark, twisted humour. I also love the language. Even the worst of Bradbury's stories are written beautifully, and you can never complain about the language. And the gothic, illustrations by Joe Mugnaini are just gorgeous and add so much to the reading experience. But they're surreal and they don't get in the way of your own imagination.
And, as always, there are plenty of "Bradburisms" and if you've read enough of his stories and novels, you'll notice them right away.
My favorite short stories from The October Country are
The Small Assassin
The Next in Line
Then there are a few ones that I don't really like:
But they're still good. It's only a matter of taste.
Anyway, The October Country is one of my favorite books and it's perfect for this time of year.
My rating: 5+
On a side note: I don't really like this rating system. I think it's too simple and trivial, so I'm working on some more creative ways to rate the books.
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