Friday, April 08, 2011

Mixed Reviews...

Ray Bradbury's affection for Ireland and the Irish is well known, and well documented in his fictional account of his time in Dublin, Green Shadows, White Whale. The feeling isn't always mutual, unfortunately. On 2nd March 1963, the Irish Times published a brief review of Bradbury's then new book Something Wicked This Way Comes:

Finally to a novel which, because, it seems, I have read only the best of Ray Bradbury, appeared to me to be a sorry lapse. It is a piece of horrific whimsy about a sort of satanic carnival which arrives outside a little town in the middle of the night with all sorts of weird devices for the destruction of its citizens, in particular of the two wholesome boy heroes. It seemed to me incredibly puerile, but I am informed that is is "usual" Ray Bradbury, and that a volume in which a brilliant and truly horrible story called "The Next in Line" appeared is not typical. Perhaps, therefore, readers who really know their Ray Bradbury will not be too disappointed with his latest offering.

The review was written
by Irish novelist and short story writer Val Mulkerns. I appreciate her honesty in admitting to only a partial knowledge of Bradbury's body of work, but wonder at the editorial wisdom of allocating the review to someone apparently ill-equipped to appreciate its qualities.

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