Ray Bradbury’s moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels. Dandelion Wine stands out in the Bradbury literary canon as the author’s most deeply personal work, a semiautobiographical recollection of a magical small-town summer in 1928.
Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole wide world that lies beyond the city limits. It is a pair of brand-new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather’s renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley’s bell on a hazy afternoon. It is yesteryear and tomorrow blended into an unforgettable always. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals whose mystical power holds time at bay. It can be a best friend moving away, a human time machine that can transport you back to the Civil War, or a sideshow automaton able to glimpse the bittersweet future.
Come and savor Ray Bradbury’s priceless distillation of all that is eternal about boyhood and summer.
©1946 Ray Bradbury (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Bradbury is an authentic original.” (Time)
Say something about yourself!
This mash-up book of Bradbury short stories works well as a novel (as did the Martian Chronicles). The book masterfully taps into the fears and glories of childhoood. I'm only sad that it took Bradbury's death to bump it up on my reading list. Of the two versions, I chose Paul Michael Garcia's version because the tone of his voice is youthful and I've found higher voices are easier for me to hear in the car. He did a good job, convincingly breathing life into the novel's wide variety of characters.
If you haven't previously been exposed to Ray Bradbury's writing, or if you've only read (or listened to, or viewed) his more well-known works of fiction, like Fahrenheit 451, this review may not be for you. But if you grew up in the '50s or '60s - or maybe in the early '70s - these words may be helpful. If you consumed Tolkien, and were appalled by Peter Jackson's increasingly perverse interpretations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you'll understand where I'm coming from.
Audio interpretation of the written word is a somewhat dicey proposition. As we read, we hear a voice (or voices) in our head, speaking the words we read. When we return to the text, those same voices reappear, once again bringing the written word to life. When we revisit the text via an audio recording, the story seems changed. The voice may be in a different register, have a different timbre; and the pacing is wrong. Dramatizations can be worse, with mispronunciations, or more (or less) emotion than we felt when we read the story, or when it was read to us.
For me, Dandelion Wine carries an extra burden. It's not just fiction, but memories. My memories. Some of the events in the book happened to me, or so closely correspond with my own childhood memories, that they may as well have been part of my own past. The voice in my head as I read those words does not track them the same way they're presented on the page, but uses them as if they were signposts, leading me to a host of memories that take me back to my own childhood.
Because I'm looking to revisit my own memories, I'm looking more for narration than dramatization, because a narration frees me to recreate my own thoughts. A dramatization, especially this one by Paul Michael Garcia, forces his own version of events on me, making this an entirely different book from the one I know. The difference, and the disappointment, was so great that in the end I had to stop listening. This wasn't the Dandelion Wine I was looking for.
Your experience may be entirely different. I certainly don't fault Audible, the production company, or Mr. Garcia. The technical quality is good. But for me, this version doesn't approach the bottled summer quality of the words as they flowed from Bradbury's typewriter, onto the page, and into my mind.
Thank goodness for Audio books. I'd never get to enjoy a book otherwise!
What a charming story of youth and imagination. One can only hope that every child can experience a summer such as this.
The way Ray Bradbury writes coupled with the excellent reading done by Mr. Garcia was truly a treat. The words romance you out of your daily life and back into a time where life revolved around relationships. It invites you back to small town America, where old lady's always have brunch on Sunday, old men curse their bodies as their spirits remain young. It provides hope in what sometimes seems like a dismal reality.
I love how Bradbury touches on topics that have left universal scars on almost everyone's soul. Maybe I am just too young to see how many universal events there are that unite us all in this world but Bradbury seamlessly touches all those chords playing on life's trials like a grand pianist: The result me understanding life (or at least I think I do;)...) a smidgen more.
I love how he reads the sounds of nature, you can tell he isn't half-assing it. I love how he makes the sounds for the old ladies, dials it down even more to mimic naive and pure youth. He truly does the story justice, which is rare...
No...I'd rather sip this one and enjoy it
I would love to see this narrator read the Illustrated Man...I have yet to read it, but I know he would do a great job.
Shiloh Bound Doc! University of Iowa graduate. Iowa Writer's Workshop fan. Hawkeye Fan! Believer. Husband. Father. Physician.
Early Bradbury has a poetic lilt and cadence that is really magical and isn't found in any other science fiction writer I've ever read.
This and his Martian story are unique in that regard and being unique -- they must be enjoyed and appreciated.
Three stars is OK.
Four stars is good.
Five stars is excellent 😱
I can't imagine a better afternoon than sitting down and listening to a story by Mr. Bradbury and the narrator was a pleasant surprise as he came up with all of the nuances to the voices and sound affects that added a special magic.
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