28. helmikuuta 2013

We'll Always Have Paris - Ray Bradbury

Harper Voyager
ISBN 978-0-00-730364-9
210 s.

I don't quite know how I missed Ray Bradbury before. Maybe it's my distaste for classics and for the authors of those said classics. I don't tend to like things that the majority of people like (or think they like, despite the fact that they've never read any of them), simply because ("truly a woman's reason", as Bradbury put it). However, the cover of We'll Always Have Paris compelled me to start reading. Or maybe it was one of the short stories in this collection, which is described as such on the back cover of the book: "-- and listen in on a couple talking themselves backwards through time to the moment when they first held hands". I had to order this book after reading that. While I waited, I read Fahrenheit 451 (of which you can read my review in Finnish here), and Bradbury's style absolutely convinced me. I've always been a bit condescending towards male writers (for no special reason, too), but Bradbury was something else entirely.

When this book finally arrived, I had to spend one night simply admiring it's beauty. I'm weird like that, but some books are enjoyable even before you begin reading them. I felt a bit uncertain about the collection, because I've never truly felt comfortable reading short stories. I don't write them and I don't read them. I find them difficult to get into, to understand, they lack a proper beginning and proper ending, they are in every way hard to feel, unlike books. However, Ray Bradbury might have proven me wrong on this account as well. Not every single one of the short stories in this book were perfect, but enough of them were to convince me. I find it wondrous that someone could create so many so different kind of stories out of their head, and make them feel so vivid and alive, true even.

I can't name a favourite straight up, but one of the best was one that told the story of two old people, stuck in their house, waking up into a bright summer's day and going out for the first time in ages, feeling themselves young again. Then there's one about a woman who visits a young man, saved by her dead son's heart. And then there was one of a dog who learned to listen to people's confessions and to forgive them much like the monks, to whom he belonged to, and of a priest who wanted this dog gone. These are just few, but all of them were powerful in their own way, making the reader to step out of their box and think.

Ray Bradbury does that. I recommend his stories as a remedy to dull-mindedness.

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