Sunday, December 23, 2012

Green Shadows, White Whale

This is one that I have never read!  When I was in my twenties and had first discovered Ray (The Martian Chronicles), I kept the local library busy bringing in through inter-library-loan every single book of Ray's that they had.  But this one eluded me, and I was pleasantly surprised to see what it actually was about.  I had always thought that since he had written the script for the movie with Gregory Peck in it, that it was a novelisation of the movie and since I had read the original by Herman Melville,  I really did not need to read what he had done. 

What it really was about was Ray's slightly embellished experiences of Ireland while he was writing the screenplay for the book. From the very first page I was enthralled with what he felt and saw and heard.  I liked how he wrote about the director John Huston, and I loved how in one chapter he described a stale wedding cake (the wedding had been post-phoned a week) to Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.  I loved it so much I laughed a great deal and quite hard, which is a switch from my usual experience with  a Bradbury collection.  Usually, when I read a story by Ray it is a very intense feeling, my heart swells, I am awestruck, reality shifts and I am taken to a surreal plain where only Ray can take me.  I'm not kidding... it's really like that!  That's why he's the king of the short story, why he will live forever, because I have yet to find anything by anyone that has ever transported me like this. 
 I think after my earlier response to The Dinosaur Tales, Green Shadows, White Whale  was like a balm for my grief, and I feel strengthened by it to carry on reading through the rest of his books next year.

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