Farewell Summerby Ray Bradbury
In a summer that refuses to end, in the deceiving warmth of earliest October, civil war has come to Green Town, Illinois. It is the age-old conflict: the young against the elderly, for control of the clock that ticks their lives ever forward. The first cap-pistol shot heard 'round the town is dead accurate, felling an old man in his tracks, compelling town elder and school board despot Mr. Calvin C. Quartermain to marshal his graying forces and declare total war on the assassin, thirteen-year-old Douglas Spaulding, and his downy-cheeked cohorts. Doug and his cronies, however, are most worthy adversaries who should not be underestimated, as they plan and execute daring campaigns-matching old Quartermain's experience and cunning with their youthful enthusiasm and devil-may-care determination to hold on forever to childhood's summer. Yet time must ultimately be the victor, with valuable revelations for those on both sides of the conflict. And life waits in ambush to assail Doug Spaulding with its powerful mysteries-the irresistible ascent of manhood, the sweet surrender to a first kiss...
One of the most acclaimed and beloved of American storytellers, Ray Bradbury has come home, revisiting the verdant landscape of one of his most adored works, Dandelion Wine. More than fifty years in the making, the long-awaited sequel, Farewell Summer, is a treasure-beautiful, poignant, wistful, hilarious, sad, evocative, profound, and unforgettable...and proof positive that the flame of wonder still burns brightly within the irrepressible imagination of the incomparable Bradbury.
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Read an Excerpt
Farewell Summer LP
By Ray Bradbury
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Ray Bradbury
All right reserved.
There are those days which seem a taking in of breath which, held, suspends the whole earth in its waiting. Some summers refuse to end.
So along the road those flowers spread that, when touched, give down a shower of autumn rust. By every path it looks as if a ruined circus had passed and loosed a trail of ancient iron at every turning of a wheel. The rust was laid out everywhere, strewn under trees and by riverbanks and near the tracks themselves where once a locomotive had gone but went no more. So flowered flakes and railroad track together turned to moulderings upon the rim of autumn.
"Look, Doug," said Grandpa, driving into town from the farm. Behind them in the Kissel Kar were six large pumpkins picked fresh from the patch. "See those flowers?"
"Farewell summer, Doug. That's the name of those flowers. Feel the air? August come back. Farewell summer."
"Boy," said Doug, "that's a sad name."
Grandma stepped into her pantry and felt the wind blowing from the west. The yeast was rising in the bowl, a sumptuous head, the head of an alien rising from the yield of other years. She touched the swell beneath the muslin cap. It was the earth on the morn before the arrival of Adam. It was the mornafter the marriage of Eve to that stranger in the garden bed.
Grandma looked out the window at the way the sunlight lay across the yard and filled the apple trees with gold and echoed the same words:
"Farewell summer. Here it is, October 1st. Temperature's 82. Season just can't let go. The dogs are out under the trees. The leaves won't turn. A body would like to cry and laughs instead. Get up to the attic, Doug, and let the mad maiden aunt out of the secret room."
"Is there a mad maiden aunt in the attic?" asked Doug.
"No, but there should be."
Clouds passed over the lawn. And when the sun came out, in the pantry, Grandma almost whispered, Summer, farewell.
On the front porch, Doug stood beside his grandfather, hoping to borrow some of that far sight, beyond the hills, some of the wanting to cry, some of the ancient joy. The smell of pipe tobacco and Tiger shaving tonic had to suffice. A top spun in his chest, now light, now dark, now moving his tongue with laughter, now filling his eyes with salt water.
He surveyed the lake of grass below, all the dandelions gone, a touch of rust in the trees, and the smell of Egypt blowing from the far east.
"Think I'll go eat me a doughnut and take me a nap," Doug said.
Excerpted from Farewell Summer LP by Ray Bradbury Copyright © 2007 by Ray Bradbury. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2011 at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."
- Los Angeles, California
- Date of Birth:
- August 22, 1920
- Place of Birth:
- Waukegan, Illinois
- Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In 1928 in Green Town, Illinois with school to shortly commence twelve years old Douglas Spaulding leads his brother and their friends in a make believe war against the town¿s older male citizens. Their childish mischief irks octogenarian Calvin C. Quartermain, who expects children to respect not harass the elderly. After a cap gun raid followed by the abduction of chess pieces, Calvin, invoking his memories as a young teen during the Civil War, mounts a counter offensive while the courthouse big clock keeps on ticking.------------------ The war between the young and the old escalates with neither side ready to capitulate or allow the sandwich generation to intercede with a punishing self-serving truce. However, the two ring leaders quickly gain respect for one another, but it is life that intervenes when Doug discovers he likes girls more than war.---------------- Ray Bradbury is at his best with his expanding a tale included in his work DANDELION WINE. The lead ¿generals¿ make the tale as both start out with dissing their adversary, but soon respect their opponent. Both soon realize they walk in the same shoes as Calvin sees Doug as his past and Doug sees Calvin as his future. One of the grandmasters of twentieth century literature, Mr. Bradbury is still in top form with a superior character study that looks at time ticking with a child eventually becoming the adult.---------
Farewell Summer, by Ray Bradbury, a sequel to Dandelion Wine, disappointed me greatly. It is about a group of pre-teen boys who learn the lessons of growing up. They play cap-gun fights, and steal certain pieces from the small town they live in. On the way, they meet a Mr.Quartermain, who ends up being the person who tries to beat the boys at everything. However, the boys eventually find that some things are more important that others. The story takes place in a small town in the 1920's, where summer isn't quite ready to leave the area. This book is a book with very in-depth lessons. To be able to understand it, you must really sit down for a couple hours, and reread most of the pages. For me, it just takes the fun out of reading, and I think that's one of the reasons I didn't like it. I found the book incredibly disappointing, because it was boring to read. I didn't get into it at all, and I dreaded having to read it. The reason I gave it a whole star, though, is because the actual writing, not the plot, was not bad. Some descriptions were good; however they were not about the right things. Instead of describing something vital to the story, the author would describe for pages something completely irrelevant to the story line. I would not recommend this book to anybody. Reading reviews, some people like it, but I find it so indescribably hard to get into I don't know why they like it. However, if you must read the book, try to read the first one, Dandelion Wine, and it might be slightly easier to understand.