When I was a young girl still full of wonder, I dabbed chrysanthemum water on my eyes to see if it would give me that long-awaited ability to see fairies. I laughed even as I did it, but I felt a glimmer of hope. I experienced a moment of, “This might actually work.” Which led to complete and utter disappointment when I saw nothing but the white walls of my dorm room and the smirk on my roommate’s face.
Did I say I was a young girl? I meant 19 year-old college student in possession of too many Wicca books.
Ray Bradbury’s The Homecoming reminded me of that day. Of wanting to be special and part of something magical. The very same strain of feeling that still draws me to speculative fiction.
Who wouldn’t want to shout expelliarmus and blast the laser pointer out of her chemistry professor’s hand because otherwise she’ll die of boredom?
The Homecoming is the haunting story of the only normal boy in an Addams Family of sorts, and his desperate attempt to become like them during a thrilling reunion. It’s a sweet tale. Bittersweet in all the right ways. You will want to hug the little boy.
I get the feeling Bradbury didn’t care how anyone else was writing when he spun a tale. He did his own thing and oh is it effective. Much respect.
This particular edition is made even better by Dave McKean’s perfect illustrations (I didn’t link to his site because it’s not live). The words and images work so incredibly well together that visual art becomes story and story becomes visual art. That art and those words stole reality from me for a time, and I wasn’t bothered.
By the way, I hope you’ve seen MirrorMask.