From the Dust Returned
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Ray Bradbury, America's most beloved storyteller, has spent a lifetime carrying readers to exhilarating and dangerous places, from dark street comers in unfamiliar cities and towns to the edge of the universe. Now, in an extraordinary flight of the imagination a half-century in the making, he takes us to a most wondrous destination: into the heart of an Eternal Family.
They have lived for centuries in a house of legend and mystery in upper Illinois -- and they are not like other midwesterners. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands. And some sleep in beds with lids.
Now the house is being readied in anticipation of the gala homecoming that will gather together the farflung branches of this odd and remarkable family. In the past-midnight stillness can be detected the soft fluttering of Uncle Einars wings. From her realm of sleep, Cecy, the fairest and most special daughter, can feel the approach of many a welcome being -- shapeshifter, telepath, somnambulist, vampire -- as she flies high in the consciousness of bird and bat.
But in the midst of eager anticipation, a sense of doom pervades. For the world is changing. And death, no stranger, will always shadow this most singular family: Father, arisen from the Earth; Mother, who never sleeps but dreams; A Thousand Times Great Grandmére; Grandfather, who keeps the wildness of youth between his ears.
And the boy who, more than anyone, carries the burden of time on his shoulders: Timothy, the sad and different foundling son who must share it all, remember, and tell...and who, alone out of all of them, must one day age and wither and die.
By turns lyrical, wistful, poignant, and chilling, From the Dust Returned is the long-awaited new novel by the peerless Ray Bradbury -- a book that will surely be numbered among his most enduring masterworks.
to reclothe her younger flesh. New color filled her eyes, cheeks, and hair. He put her safely away in an orchard of trees in Alexandria when time was new. Grandpère opened his eyes. Sunlight blinded the remaining cousins. The maiden still sat across the aisle. The cousins jumped behind his gaze. “Fools!” they said. “Why bother with old? New is now!” “Yes,” whispered Cecy. “Now! I’ll tuck Grandpère’s mind in her body and bring her dreams to hide in his head. He will sit ramrod straight.
way that she lives, the way that she travels.” “And who is this, again?” said a voice. “Her name?” said Timothy. “Why, Cecy.” “Yes,” said a fine and lovely voice that troubled the council air. Her attic voice spoke. “I will be,” said Cecy, “like someone who sows the winds to put down a seed of a flower at some future time. Let me gather one soul at a time and move across the land and find a proper place to put it down. Some miles from here, far beyond the town, there’s an empty farm that was
the last of the rain gave the charred shell of House a final rinse and ceased and there were only dying smokes and half a House with half a heart and half a lung and Cecy there, a compass to their dreams, forever signaling their rampant destinations. There went all and everyone in a flow of dreams to faraway hamlets and forests and farms, and Mother and Father with them in a blizzard of whispers and prayers, calling farewell, promising returns in some future year, so to seek and hold once again
inhabitants live, dream, work, die—and sometimes live again—discovering, often too late, the high price of citizenship. Here a glass jar can hold memories and nightmares; a woman’s newborn child can plot murder; and a man’s skeleton can war against him. Here there is no escaping the dark stranger who lives upstairs … or the reaper who wields the world. Each of these stories is a wonder, imagined by an acclaimed tale-teller writing from a place of shadows. The Small Assassin Just when the idea
husband did not move and the wife leaned down half wondering what next to do, Cecy quite instantly knew that her travels were not enough, that beginning now here, now there with seeing and hearing and tasting there must be someone to share it all and tell. And here the teller was, his small cry giving announcement to the fact that no matter what might show and tell, his small hand, grown strong and wild and quick, would capture it and scribble it down. With this assurance sensed, Cecy sent a