As it has been a very relaxing and lazy Sunday I finished my current novel and now I’m here to tell you about it. Farewell Summer has been on my to read list for a while. I’ve read a lot of Bradbury, I’m a big fan of his prose although the last Bradbury novel I finished in January, Something Wicked this Way Comes, I can’t say really enjoyed as much as some of his other works. It was nice to be reminded with Farewell Summer, why I fell in love with Bradbury’s prose to begin.
What’s it about? Well it’s is a continuation of Dandelion Wine and a rather good one at that. Bradbury remarks in the afterword that he cut this portion from Dandelion Wine as the original manuscript was so long and waited and reworked it until he was entirely happy with it to release it out into the world. It’s about summer coming to an end and childhood mischief and steadily leaving childhood behind. But it’s also about the gap between children and the elderly and bridging that gap to learn and grow. It’s also a little about time and how, regardless of the clocks we smash, it moves forward relentlessly.
Bradbury’s prose is beautiful, inspiring, it regularly surprises with interesting images and description. It’s nostalgic, it had me thinking about Aberystwyth in October, when it is still beautifully warm, t-shirt weather, and the days gradually shorten. But like most great Bradbury novels, it contains a revelation two thirds in, this one about ‘letting go’. It is a quiet, patient novel that has all of the air of the coming autumn and the unwinding of a well spent summer.
Structurally the chapters are rather short, so if you are after a quick read on the train or bus between stops then this is one for you. The pace of the story is relatively rapid. As much as I enjoyed the childlike world of Dandelion Wine I did also find it an exhaustingly long read simply because it was a childlike world. This is also the same problem I faced with Something Wicked This Way Comes perhaps this is just a style I struggle with. Farewell Summer is just long enough, any more and I think it would’ve been too long. At a scarce 160pages, it certainly didn’t last long in my hands.
I always find something to enjoy about Bradbury’s writing. Perhaps it is his devotion to his work, the insatiable appetite he writes with or the pure joy he weaves with his words. He is undeniably one of my heroes, and hand on heart I have read nearly more of his work than any other author now. There are so many minor links between his works I think that for a novel to start with Farewell Summer certainly stands up well on its own. It is however, not my favourite. My favourite is still very certainly the very first Bradbury that I ever read, Fahrenheit 451.