Monday, September 19, 2011

Reflections: Driving Blind

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Ray Bradbury's short story collection Driving Blind:

"Due to so many books being written each year and by so many different authors, I often find myself shying away from reading multiple books by the same author.  I think there is value in spending precious reading time with a diversified group of authors because they all, by nature of their individuality, bring their own peculiar set of knowledge and experience.  Yet, every once in a little while, an author so impresses me I'm willing to spend a hugely disproportionate amount of time with their work in comparison to other authors.  For me, one of those authors is Ray Bradbury.  I have read many of his books; I loved most of them and hated none of them.  I find his imagination, his characters, his stories, and his prose so compelling, inventive, and entertaining that I have gone back to him again and again and fully expect to continue to do so in the future.

Driving Blind is the third collection of short stories I have read from Ray Bradbury.  Although I felt it was the weakest of the three, The Illustrated Man and The October Country are the other two, it still was worth reading.  Most of the stories in Driving Blind are far less fantastical than he seems wont to write.  It could be seen as an interesting change of pace for him, but I felt it made many of his stories less intriguing and less memorable.  There are several stories from The Illustrated Man especially I will never forget, and they were based heavily in science fiction or in some other kind of fantasy element.

Yet, as much as I liked his other collection of short stories better, I had to still admire Bradbury for what he's best at.  He is a wonderful writer, and he provides some great stories within this collection.  The dark, domestic tale Fee Fie Foe Fum is twisted and extremely entertaining.  House Divided is probably one of the most honest narratives I've read of a child coming into adolescence.  It's so true it made me feel uncomfortable.  There are certainly others worth mentioning, but to say the collection as a whole is worth reading is sufficient.

I have yet to read a bad Bradbury book.  Driving Blind is no exception.  It's not his best work.  But one of Bradbury's 'so-so' works of fiction tramples into dust most other contemporary writing.  He very deservedly claims one of my most favorite authors honor, and I look forward to the next book I read of his."

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