three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
26-Jan-Feb-2007
By: 
Ray Bradbury
user_rating: 
0

A-Farewell SummerYoung men like to play at war. In the fall of 1928, adolescent Douglas Spalding, the author’s young alter ego, leads his brother and friends in the ultimate conflict—the war against time. Fearing that summer’s end signals a precipitous, headlong slide into adulthood, the gang devises an attack on the courthouse clock of Green Town, Illinois. Taking the side of experience, Calvin C. Quartermain uses his 81 years of wisdom and wiles to beckon the boys toward growing up gracefully. This sequel to Ray Bradbury’s beloved semiautobiographical novel, Dandelion Wine (1957), is an autumnal treat for his fans.
William Morrow. 224 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 0061131547

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"The result is like something out of one of the science fiction and fantasy master’s story collections: a collaboration between the younger Ray Bradbury and his older self." Dorman T. Shindler

Hartford Courant 4 of 5 Stars
"Bradbury must have the power to stop time, too—he is at work on a double novel. At times here he reminds us of Dylan Thomas in all his Child’s Christmas in Wales glory, but mostly he is uniquely himself, wise, poignant and inimitable." Carole Goldberg

Rocky Mountain News 4 of 5 Stars
"Each sparse chapter is filled with Bradbury’s rich imagery and exuberant language, capturing moments with the immediacy with which children experience them. As youth and wisdom collide, these two adversaries find that not only are they a match for each other, they may in fact be two sides of the same fanciful coin." Clayton Moore

Milwaukee Jrnl-Sentinel 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Bradbury captures the sights and smells of the end of summer, what it feels like to be afraid of something you can’t see in the dark and the taste of a first kiss. … It’s a gossamer-thin book that’s rich in detail but slight on plot." Meg Jones

San Antonio Exp-News 3 of 5 Stars
"The plot, then, is based on teaching lessons that all of us have to learn. The concept is neither new nor fresh. Only Bradbury’s still-elegant and evocative writing salvages the book." Sterlin Holmesly

Critical Summary

Ray Bradbury, now in his mid-80s, explains in his postscript that the original Dandelion Wine manuscript included much of the material in Farewell Summer. His publisher at the time thought the book too long, and advised Bradbury to shelve the latter half. He certainly took the advice to heart. Fifty years later, here comes this satisfying denouement, one that speaks to themes of youth, aging, memory, and regrets. Reviewers praise Farewell Summer as an ideal swan song for a storied career that produced award-winning works like Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes and earned Bradbury the prestigious National Medal of Arts.

First There Was

Dandelion Wine (1957): In 1928, 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding experiences the joys of summer in small-town America.