Apatt's Reviews > The October Country

The October Country by Ray Bradbury
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Oct 02, 2016

really liked it
Read from June 10 to 17, 2012

I am quite useless at reviewing an anthologies so please bear with me. How do you go about reviewing these things any way? Story by story? Sounds like a chore. I'll just muddle through as usual then!

The October Country is a collection of Ray Bradbury's macabre stories, I hesitate to label them as "horror stories" because they are not particularly horrifying, but they are mostly odd and unsettling, almost "new weird" but disqualified on the "new" part! The iIllustrations by Joe Mugnaini (a few are shown below) add a surreal atmosphere to the stories. I will just run through them quickly:

"Dwarf" - A little strange, ends before it should for me, no clear denouement, but a good little morality tale.


"The Next in Line" - I like the gradation of depths for burial based on the wealth of the family. There is a very creepy, psychologically unsettling scene in the catacombs. I find the story goes on too long yet the ending is a little too abrupt (too "WTF" if you will). I do love the lyricism and poetic rhythm of his writing though.
"The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse" - A humorous observation about the pretentious avant garde. Nice one!
"Skeleton" - That is gross man! LOL! A darkly humorous story. OK, this one is a bit horrifying. I love it!


"The Jar" - I like how the entire story revolves around the mysterious content of the jar, the twist at the end is cool.
"The Lake" - The first overtly supernatural tale in this book, a sentimental and sad little ghost story.
"The Emissary" - Unexpected twist in this one, to say any more would spoil it. Great story!
"Touched With Fire" - The story of a couple of retired insurance salesmen and a perpetually angry woman who is a sort of Angry Bird in human form.
"The Small Assassin" - My favorite story in this book, give me the collywobbles! I'm not saying anything about the plot!
"The Crowd" - The crowd that materialize in accident scenes are indeed reprehensible. Good story.
"Jack-in-the-Box" - A weird scifi-ish story. Have you seen M. Night Shyamalan 2004 movie The Village? This story is a bit like that (well, no, that movie is a bit like this, which predates it).
"The Scythe" - Don't fear the Reaper, or don't fear the reaping. This story left a singularly eerie image in my mind after reading.


"Uncle Einar" - A pleasant, lighthearted story. Not creepy at all.
"The Wind" - Supernatural, creepy and sad.
"The Man Upstairs" - an excellent vampire tale with triangles, chains, and pyramids - genius!
"There Was an Old Woman" - Annoying bloody woman, good for a giggle.
"The Cistern" - A weird watery tale which is almost a ghost story.
"Homecoming" - "They're creepy and they're kooky, Mysterious and spooky" - actually may be more like "The Munster".
"The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone" - Strange mainstream-ish story. It is actually quite wonderful, a great way to end the book.

TL;DR: My favorite stories are "Skeleton", "The Small Assassin" and "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone".

Probably not Bradbury's best collection but Bradbury is always well worth reading. The best Ray Bradbury anthology is - IMO - The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles is great but it is more of a fix-up novel.

As I write it is almost Halloween, the best time to read this collection!
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Reading Progress

06/11/2012 page 88
25.0%
08/24/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Graham Cope Nice review and great timing! You've made me want to dig out my copy and reread it.
October is a perfect month for darker tales.


Apatt Graham wrote: "Nice review and great timing! You've made me want to dig out my copy and reread it.
October is a perfect month for darker tales."


Thanks very much, Graham. That's a good point, I didn't even think about the month.


message 3: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro Apatt, I am now intrigued by 'The Small Assassin' story. Would it be worth buying this book, just to read that? I'm currently struggling to find time to read the two books I've started!


Apatt Kevin wrote: "Apatt, I am now intrigued by 'The Small Assassin' story. Would it be worth buying this book, just to read that? I'm currently struggling to find time to read the two books I've started!"

There's a TV adpatation of it on Youtube maybe that will save you a bit of time ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nPwG...


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Love it, Apatt!

I must now check the brick of a book titled Bradbury's Collected Stories (stolen and hidden in my son's shelf...) if it features "The Wonderful Death of..."

The title stirs some curiosity!


Apatt Lisa wrote: "Love it, Apatt!

I must now check the brick of a book titled Bradbury's Collected Stories (stolen and hidden in my son's shelf...) if it features "The Wonderful Death of..."

The title stirs some ..."


Thank you, Lisa. Looking back on this review posted 4 years ago I've forgotten most of the stories, except the Small Assassin!


message 7: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Are you suggesting Matisse was "pretentious avant garde" or was Bradbury?!
(⊙_⊙)


message 8: by Apatt (last edited Oct 02, 2016 05:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Apatt Cecily wrote: "Are you suggesting Matisse was "pretentious avant garde" or was Bradbury?!
(⊙_⊙)"


Must be the second option, 'cos I dunno who Matisse is. Isn't that the choclate that won't melt in your hands?

I just rememebered there are some illustrations from this book that I can bung in
(((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))


message 9: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Of course you know who Matisse is; you have Google at your fingertips.
(>ω^)

But I like the illustrations you've added (though they're nothing like Matisse).


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