Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows reviews The Folio Society’s Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury out now…
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Writer: Ray Bradbury
Illustrations: Tim McDonagh
There is something inherently unsettling about circuses and the people who run them. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury is a classic novel that was originally published back in 1962 and The Folio Society has just put out this beautiful selectively illustrated edition.
Something Wicked This Way Comes, named after the quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is set in a small town in the Mid West of the USA, which is visited by the wonderfully named Mr Dark and Mr Cooger’s Circus. Two boys who live in the town, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade encounter the circus and with the help of Will’s father, Charles, drive them from their town.
Frank Skinner’s introduction sets the scene for those readers who haven’t read this before. I admit I have read it in paperback a number of years ago but it was a pleasure to revisit Bradbury’s work.
Something Wicked This Way Comes drips small-town Americana and Bradbury has created in the shape of Mr Dark or The Illustrated Man, a nod to one of his brilliant short story collections, a truly unsettling individual. Bradbury’s prose is simple but elegant and he paints the small-town setting with a pizazz and a flair that very few other writers could match. Possibly someone like Stephen King could come close but Bradbury had a unique voice to his writing, which is hard to equal. As a horror novel, this manages to straddle the real world and the other place that Dark and his compatriots hail from with real efficacy.
The boys Will and Jim are American archetypes as is Will’s dad Charles but they are well delineated. Something Wicked at its core is about the threat to the idyllic American lifestyle and also deals with themes like regret, old age and the battle between childhood and becoming an adult.
Illustrator McDonagh brings Bradbury’s characters and settings to life with skill and nuance and creates a gothic backdrop for the reader to inhabit.
The Folio Society continues to create books for the aficionado as they are made with care and consideration and Something Wicked This Way Comes is an exquisite edition of a seminal horror novel, a real joy to read and consume.
The Folio Society edition of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, introduced by Frank Skinner and illustrated by Tim McDonagh, is available exclusively from www.FolioSociety.com