August 3rd, 2008

Falstaff--Eh?

(no subject)

I wonder if folks forget that I wish to give away just about every book I've read. Nobody ever makes a claim. Of course, I think that part of that is that only 5 of my LJ friends (3 mutual friends) are in England and folks probably figure (correctly) that I don't want to spend a fortune mailing books overseas.

Still, I don't want to accumulate books, because I want to keep my number of possessions down. (I am failing miserably!) I want to give the books to folks I know will enjoy them, rather than simply taking them to a church, library, or some charity, where they'll gather dust on some shelf never to be cracked open again. But, if no one wants any of these books, I may have to do just that.
Relax!  Grab a Book!

Book 24

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  1. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  2. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  3. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  4. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)

Page count: 6053.

The cover to Farewell Summer calls it, "The eagerly anticipated sequel to Dandelion Wine." Bradbury in his afterword more correctly calls it an "extension" to the other. After all, how can something that has no plot have a sequel?

Farewell Summer, unlike its predecessor, is not a collection of vignettes recalling childhood. Rather, it is a story with a definite plot, taking place the summer after the events of Dandelion Wine. The plot seems contrived. Doug has had a dream wherein he dies, and so he forms an "army" to wage war against old folks and growing up. Meanwhile, his aged counterpart, Calvin Quartermain, decides to wage war on these youths. All this is to make a point about coming of age, growing up, loss of innocence, and so on.

Bradbury is still a great describer. He paints potent images for us, tells absorbing stories. But whereas Dandelion Wine rejoiced in a nostalgia for youth and a bygone golden age, Farewell Summer seems to have lost that, expressing cynicism about those who cling to youth and refuse to grow up. Whereas the one is a book for those forever young at heart, the other is a book for those old and dying. Heck, even the forbidding ravine that represents death in the former becomes green and inviting in the latter. The only connection between the two books is a similar cast of characters and the same location.

There's nothing blatantly wrong with Farewell Summer — the various adventures are fun to read about — but it just feels off, like watching something ever so slightly out of synch. I can't say I really liked it. And there's a bit at the end — I won't give anything away, but this is meant to bring resolution and forge a connection between Doug and Quartermain, between old and young, between entering life and entering death — that I merely found tasteless and unnecessary. I think I would have preferred not to lose the innocence of Dandelion Wine.