The October Country by Ray Bradbury


...that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain... 

I grew up with stories from the Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. All those stories fuelled my imagination always reminding me that not everything is just what it seems, and that things and beings everybody teaches us don't exist, watch us from the shadows all the time.

The October Country is a collection of nineteen stories. I couldn't say they were scary. They are macabre, unsettling and fantastic. Most of them smell of wet earth and fallen leaves, whispering rain and smoke of autumnal fires and something long gone. What I like the most is that they always finish with an unexpected and thought provoking twist, which Bradbury is a master of.

How does it feel when wind is out to get you? How does a real vampire look like? How do we know our long lost childhood sweetheart won't finish a sand castle we started to build, like she always did, even though she is dead? Are there lovers sleeping in the water tank, waiting for the deluge to come and give them life? What happens when a man accepts an unusual inheritance out of sheer need to feed his family and survive, but later finds out he got much more than he bargained for? How is it to be the only normal kid in a family of supernatural beings and feel like an outcast?

These short stories are about things that can't happen in so called real life. Or perhaps they can. Perhaps we don't really live in the so called real life. Perhaps everything is just a way of seeing. If we turn upside down, the world looks different. The people are different if we look at them through different coloured glass like a boy in The Man Upstairs did. And we never know what we can find once we use our imagination ... on a cold October evening ...

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Tisti, ki me malo bolje poznajo vedo, da sem odrasla z zgodbami iz serij V območju somraka, Nenavadne zgodne in Alfred Hitchcock predstavlja. Te in druge podobne zgodbe so mi podžigale domišljijo in me vedno znova opominjale, da stvari niso take kot se zdijo in da nas reči in bitja, za katere ljudje trdijo, da ne obstajajo, nenehno opazujejo in senc.

The October Country je zbirka devetnajstih zgodb. Ne bi mogla reči, da so grozljive, prej temačne, nepričakovane in fantastične. Večina jih diši po vlažni zemlji in suhem listju, po šepetajočem dežju in dimu jesenskih ognjev in po nečem, davno izginulem. Kar mi je bilo najbolj všeč pri teh zgodbah, je nepričakovan konec, ki sili k razmišljanju, kar Bradburyju mojstrsko uspe.

Kako je, ko te veter želi uničiti? Kakšen je pravi vampir? Kako vemo, da naša otroška ljubezen ne bo dokončala peščenega gradu, ki smo ga začeli graditi, tako kot je to vedno storila, čeprav je že davno tega umrla? Ali v kanalizacijskih jaških spita ljubimca, ki čakata naliv, da jima da življenje? Kaj se zgodi, ko mož iz čiste potrebe po preživetju sprejme nepričakovano dediščino in ugotovi, da je dobil mnogo več? Kako se počuti edini normalen otrok v družini nadnaravnih bitij?

Te zgodbe pripovedujejo stvari, ki se ne morejo zgoditi v tako imenovanem resničnem življenju. Morda pa se ravno lahko zgodijo. Morda sploh ne živimo v tako imenovanem resničnem življenju. Morda je vse stvar gledanja. Če se obrnemo na glavo, je svet takoj drugačen. Ljudje so videti drugačni, če jih gledamo skozi različno obarvane kose stekla, kot je to storil fant iz zgodbe Mož iz zgornjega nadstropja. Nikoli ne vemo kaj se bo zgodilo, ko bomo uporabili domišljijo ... še posebej ne, če je hladen oktobrski večer ...
 
 

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