Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Favorite Short Stories: The April Witch by Ray Bradbury

Long before paranormal romance had been named, Ray Bradbury imagined his Elliott family, a clan of supernatural beings that rings a little like the Adams Family with a deeper tinge of melancholy. The tales are collected in From the Dust Returned. 

I read a while back--all right it was a year ago, time flies--that a movie might be developed from the stories.

That might be fun.

The tales are filled with Bradbury's special magic, which can be at its best when sadness is acknowledged as a part of all things.

In "Homecoming," a core piece in the cycle, there's sense that once frequent reunions are becoming sporadic for the Eliotts, and bits of decorative black crepe paper flutter through subsequent stories, suggesting remnants of grander days as we learn more about the winged Uncle Einar and about the magical Cecy.

She's often pivotal to the tales but never more so than in "The April Witch." Told that the family can't marry humans without a loss of magic, the teen Cecy is devastated. She wants more than anything to be in love.

Since her abilities allow her to inhabit humans and things, she decides she'll experience love second hand.

As a leaf, she flutters into the world of Ann, a young woman in a farming community. Then, leaping into Ann, she forces a rekindling of interest with a young man named Tom.

Ann's resistant, to any romance, even to an outing, but with effort Cecy is able to override some decisions. That means a dance and enough proximity to Tom for Cecy to fall in love,  if it doesn't work for Ann.

The longing impels the story toward a culmination as poignant as Bradbury's other small masterpiece "The Foghorn."

It's fantastical, odd, eerie, offbeat and wonderful, a contemplation like no other of a "what might have been."

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember the first few pieces of this series. Wow, they really knocked me out. so beautifully done.

Sidney said...

Yeah, a lot of fun. I suppose "Homecoming" and "The Traveller" will offer a lot of plot possibilities for a film, but "The April Witch" is a cool story.

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