Written by: Myra Gabor
Ray Bradbury is known to all of us as one of the masters of sci-fi, having given us The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451.
He’s changed his focus in FROM THE DUST RETURNED, by writing a love letter about his family. At the end of the book, he tells us that all the characters in the book were named after his relatives, whom he obviously adores.
He tells us about the House, which appears by a tree on a hill on a plain. When a great storm comes, the House is carried to middle America, where it stands empty, awaiting the arrival of the family.
A young boy, Timothy, appears on the doorstep as a pink cheeked, blue eyed baby. In other words, he resembles no one else in the family. It is decreed that Timothy shall be the Writer, who shall record their history. One night before Halloween, he climbs up to the attic in order to ask Cecy, the mummy who inhabits the attic, about the family. Cecy is the Keeper of Dreams. And so, one by one, we come to know who the family members are.
We meet the Queen cat, Anuba. She is the first to arrive. Although her reveal is historically inaccurate, it makes for a great paragraph of made-up history. I understand that this part of the book might be made into a film.
We have some wonderful descriptions of the House. While quite lyrical, e.g. when describing it, “some ceilings were high enough to allow flights with rests where shadows might hang upside down”, the book still has an old fashioned feel to it.
Although beautifully written, you have to bear in mind that there is no violence here, just a few ghosts and others who prefer the night for flying while they sleep during the day. As the family is being summoned to the house by the wind, we understand that all their stories are to be taken tongue-in-cheek.
If you’re in the mood for action, this isn’t the book for you. Remember, it’s a lyrical love story from a great writer to his family.