Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Halloway and Nightshade

What great character names!  Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade - the protagonists from Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.  Will and Jim are more like brothers than best friends, born just one day apart they live next door to each other in a small American town.  The novels opens with the promise of fun that only a child can see as Autumn begins, but a dark cloud is about to hover over them as an ancient carnival pulls into town.  The boys realise that something is very wrong with the carnival when they see one of its operators Mr Cooger ride the carousel backwards and so watch him grow younger and younger until he is a small boy.

Mr Dark, the illustrated man, seduces adults with promises of youth and his body is covered with the images of those he has lured.  What the adults don't realise is that to be young again will mean giving up all their friends, and finding themselves alone so frightens them when they have become a child that they beg to go back on the carousel.  They are promised that they will be given back their lives but first they must travel as freaks within the carnival.

Jillian Petrie as The Dustwitch
One such freak is the blind Dustwitch - one night Mr Dark sends her out in a monstrous balloon to find the boys.  The sound of the balloon billowing in the wind and the blind freak holding out her hands to sense the boys is very creepy. They know the secret of the carnival and Mr Dark needs to silence them.......................  make no mistake, this is not a childrens book.  It is brilliantly told from a child's perspective, and I love how Will's opinion of his father grows.  He initially sees him as an old janitor at the library, but as the novel progresses Will realises that he seems taller and stronger - dependable and more importantly, he believes.  

I'm lining up a few books on my iPod now, and as I write this I'm transferring Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami which I'm really looking forward to 'reading' as I loved the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.  When I was shopping at Harbourtown on the weekend I came across a book sale, and all books were $5.  Heaven!  Trouble was it was cash only and I only had $20 on  me.  Just as well as I would have spent a fortune.  Wind-Up Bird in hardback was there but I had to put it back in favour of something I hadn't read.  So, in the end after much debating and shuffling of books I bought Disgrace by J M Coetzee, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (both on the 1001 list), The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro &  Chuck Hogan (sequel to The Strain) and The City of Fallen Angels by John Berendt which is set in Venice.  Berendt wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which was brilliant so I have high hopes for this one!  Really it was a shame that these books were going so cheap as it was probably a fire sale for a book store that has closed down - one of many to close it doors in recent times I fear.

Still struggling with Melmoth but 60% of the way through it according to my Kindle.  Also struggling big time with Opposing Energies.  The best thing about it so far is the title unfortunately.  Whilst there isn't much wrong with the writing for a first novel, and apart from the bad proofing and editing prior to publishing, I'm half way through the book and not much has happened and I don't like any of the characters.  I do read sci fi and fantasy but I think this one is probably aimed at the teen market.  I'll pick it up now and again and I guess I'll finish it eventually, but it's not a priority.

Well that's me up to date, I'm off to bed now to read a bit of Disgrace.  

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