From the Dust Returned

Ray Bradbury
4
Oct 30, 2015

The Elliott family is not exactly usual. They dwell in an ancient and very much haunted manor perched on the top of a lightning-struck hill. Not only do some of their members predate time, many are undying, undead, or some variation thereof. Their story is told in a series of chapters that read like vignettes of various extraordinary family members. Some of these stories are bitter, some sweet, most are a bit of both.

Cousin Cecy has the unusual ability to inhabit the minds of any living thing, from the smallest blade of grass to a newborn baby across the world. Cousin Angelina Marguerite was born in her grave at nineteen. Uncle Einar’s massive wings are perfect for cooling one off on a hot autumn day. If the story had a central figure it would be Timothy, the 10-year old human boy left on the doorstep of the ancient house and quickly accepted as one of their own. Timothy has no wings, cannot read minds, will not live forever. Timothy has been handed the job of recording the history of this amazing family. He spends his nights watching them, listening to their stories, especially those of A-Thousand-Times-Great-Grandmother, the whispering mummy in the attic. The family no longer meets often, with gaps between growing greater and greater, and Timothy is beside himself with excitement for this Halloween’s family reunion. Being mortal, he knows he may not live to see another.

I found it to be a really enjoyable read. Not only was it perfect for the Halloween season, Bradbury’s lyrical writing brought something special to the somewhat classic spooky story of creepy inhabitants in a ghoulish mansion. The illustrations on the cover and interspersed throughout the book were done by Charles Addams, of The Addams’ Family fame, and add to the playful but creepy tone. Reading this novel, you can tell that the story was near and dear to Bradbury. In his afterword he describes the autobiographical nature of the novel, how memories of wild Halloween parties with his extended family in the country inspired him to commemorate their history. Started in 1945, parts of this story were published in various magazines before Bradbury was able to fully complete and compile the novel in 2000. Fans of Halloween and Bradbury alike will enjoy this title.

 

Written by Sam S.

Sams are nocturnal animals, often sleeping during the day in a nest or under bushes and shrubs before coming out to feed at night.