Published by HarperCollins on January 1, 1962
Few American novels written this century have endured in th heart and mind as has this one-Ray Bradbury's incomparable masterwork of the dark fantastic. A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes -- and the stuff of nightmare.
This was a short book, and this is going to be quite a short review. Without a doubt, I enjoyed the atmosphere of this book, it captures the wonders of youth so well. And the carnival is quite intriguing, it provides not just the young, but anyone that desires something, the answer to their dreams. The two boys, Jim and Will, are quite different as it is interesting see their different reactions to things. Jim much more fearless and adventurous, full of strong desires and the drive to try and get them, and Will much more leery and, well, sensible.
There is one conversation Will had with his father about what they fear and how his father did not fear death because death is what makes every thing else sad. It was quite a touching conversation, and I really like how Will’s father sees his son as a person, and a person he can learn from, and not just “a kid”.
But, yes, unfortunately there is a but, something about it just didn’t hold my attention as well as I would hope. There is a simplistic or bare bones type of style in this that I think both helps create the atmosphere, but also requires the reader to become engaged with less. The atmosphere is strong, but the characters and story didn’t seem to offer quite as much for the reader to get attached to. I think this is going to be a hit or miss book with many readers. But which ever side you fall on, I think it has it’s place as a classic.