This book seems to be one of those parts of my history that hovers slightly beyond reach, as if it were no longer mine but belonged to someone else, or to some other place or time. I suppose it does.
In my tenuous recollection, threads connect The Martian Chronicles to two people: my mother, who I believe gave it to me (she's the one who seeded my SF interest), and my friend Duncan Becker, who read much more, and much more widely, than I did. I seem to recall passing this book along to Duncan, but why that would stick in my mind when I know there were other SF books he had already read I don't know. It's just that he later wrote a science-fiction novel about two civilizations in space, after he went away to college and then moved to another country, and I now wonder whether my little loan, also about two civilizations, contributed to that. My mother might remember some detail about my response to the book, and Duncan might sketch other parts of the picture, but both of them are gone now. Maybe I need not mention them here, but they're somehow part of the story I've lost.
Only the vaguest impressions of my reading remain, among which are a heated landscape, which I think is both that of Mars as the Earthmen find it and that of the Texas summer when I probably read the book, and lives swallowed up by events, and an unusual form of nostalgia on Bradbury's part, seemingly tied up in works and days he had invented in the book, which may have been a redirected longing for his own past.