A nostalgic collection of stories by the celebrated author finds humor and tenderness in unexpected encounters. A few of these brief tales deliver the trademark Bradbury chill, such as "The Reincarnate," in which a newly dead man harbors the doomed hope of rejoining the living. Or the creepy "Fly Away Home," which sends to Mars "rocket men" who re-create buildings from their hometowns to keep from going mad. Other stories are sentimental character studies, such as "Massinello Pietro," about a flamboyant man who keeps a menagerie that the neighborhood and the police see as a public nuisance, or "Pietà Summer," an affecting boyhood memory about a sleep-deprived 13-year-old who's excited about the two circuses coming to town. Other stories delve into romantic ironies, as in "Un-pillow Talk," in which two new lovers unravel the steps that brought them to bed, or the curious title story, which follows a married American man through Paris as he pursues an alluring young Frenchman. Though many of these feel like they've been sitting in a drawer for decades, Bradbury's fans will find his fiction still open to experimentation. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
We'll Always Have Paris: Storiesby Ray Bradbury
Over the course of a storied literary career that has spanned more than half a century, Ray Bradbury has taken us to wonderful places: across vast oceans to foreign lands, onto summer porches of small-town America, through dark and dangerous forests where predators wait, into the hypnotic mists of dream, back to a halcyon past to remember, forward into an… See more details below
Over the course of a storied literary career that has spanned more than half a century, Ray Bradbury has taken us to wonderful places: across vast oceans to foreign lands, onto summer porches of small-town America, through dark and dangerous forests where predators wait, into the hypnotic mists of dream, back to a halcyon past to remember, forward into an exhilarating future, and rocketing through outer space.
In We'll Always Have Paris—a new collection of never-before-published stories—the inimitable Bradbury once again does what few writers have ever done as well. He delights us with prose that soars and sings. He surprises and inspires, exposing truths and provoking deep thought. He imagines great things and poignantly observes human foibles and frailties. He enchants us with the magic he mastered decades ago and still performs flawlessly. In these pages, radio voices become indomitable flesh and the dead arise to recapture life. There is joy in an eccentric old man's dance for the world and wonder over the workings of humankind's best friend, O Holy Dog. Whether he's exploring the myriad ways to be reborn, or the circumstances that can make any man a killer, or returning us to Mars, Bradbury opens the world to us and beckons us in.
Get ready to travel far and wide once again with America's preeminent storyteller. His tales will live forever. We will always have Bradbury—and for that reason, we are eternally blessed.
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We'll Always Have Paris
He fed the canaries and the geese and the dogs and the cats. Then he cranked up the rusty phonograph and sang to the hissing "Tales from the Vienna Woods":
Life goes up, life goes down,
But please smile, do not sigh, do not frown!
Dancing, he heard the car stop before his little shop. He saw the man in the gray hat glance up and down the storefront and knew the man was reading the sign which in large, uneven blue letters declared the manager. Everything free! Love and charity for all!
The man stepped halfway through the open door and stopped. "Mr. Massinello Pietro?"
Pietro nodded vigorously, smiling. "Come in. Do you want to arrest me? Do you want to throw me in jail?"
The man read from his notes. "Better known as Alfred Flonn?" He eyed the silver bells on Pietro's shirtsleeves.
"That's me!" Pietro's eye flashed.
The man was uncomfortable. He looked around a room crammed full of rustling birdcages and packing crates. Geese rushed in through the back door, stared at him angrily, and rushed back out. Four parrots blinked lazily on their high perches. Two Indian lovebirds cooed softly. Three dachshunds capered around Pietro's feet, waiting for him to put down just one hand to pet them. On one shoulder he carried a banana-beaked mynah bird, on the other a zebra finch.
"Sit down!" sang Pietro. "I was just having a little music; that's the way to start the day!" He cranked the portable phonograph swiftly and reset the needle.
"I know, I know." The man laughed,trying to be tolerant. "My name's Tiffany, from the D.A.'s office. We got a lot of complaints." He waved around the cluttered shop. "Public health. All these ducks, raccoons, white mice. Wrong zone, wrong neighborhood. You'll have to clean it up."
"Six people have told me that." Pietro counted them proudly on his fingers. "Two judges, three policemen, and the district attorney himself!"
"You were warned a month ago you had thirty days to stop this nuisance or go to jail," said Tiffany, over the music. "We've been patient."
"I," said Pietro, "have been the patient one. I have waited for the world to stop being silly. I have waited for it to stop wars. I have waited for politicians to be honest. I have waited—la la la—for real estate men to be good citizens. But while I wait, I dance!" He demonstrated.
"But look at this place!" protested Tiffany.
"Isn't it wonderful? Do you see my shrine for the Virgin Mary?" Pietro pointed. "And here, on the wall, a framed letter from the archbishop's secretary himself, saying what good I've done for the poor! Once, I was rich, I had property, a hotel. A man took it all away, my wife with it, oh, twenty years ago. Do you know what I did? I invested what little I had left in dogs, geese, mice, parrots, who do not change their minds, who are always friends forever and forever. I bought my phonograph, which never is sad, which never stops singing!"
"That's another thing," said Tiffany, wincing. "The neighborhood says at four in the morning, um, you and the phonograph . . ."
"Music is better than soap and water!"
Tiffany shut his eyes and recited the speech he knew so well. "If you don't have these rabbits, the monkey, the parakeets, everything, out by sundown, it's the Black Maria for you."
Mr. Pietro nodded with each word, smiling, alert. "What have I done? Have I murdered a man? Have I kicked a child? Have I stolen a watch? Have I foreclosed a mortgage? Have I bombed a city? Have I fired a gun? Have I told a lie? Have I cheated a customer? Have I turned from the Good Lord? Have I taken a bribe? Have I peddled dope? Do I sell innocent women?"
"No, of course not."
"Tell me, then, what have I done? Point to it, lay a hand on it. My dogs, these are evil, eh? These birds, their song is dreadful, eh? My phonograph—I suppose that's bad, too, eh? All right, put me in jail, throw away the key. You will not separate us."
The music rose to a great crescendo. He sang along with it:
Tiffa-nee! Hear my plea!
Can't you smile; sit awhile, be my friend?
The dogs leaped about, barking.
Mr. Tiffany drove away in his car.
Pietro felt a pain in his chest. Still grinning, he stopped dancing. The geese rushed in and pecked gently at his shoes as he stood, bent down, holding his chest.
At lunchtime, Pietro opened a quart of homemade Hungarian goulash and refreshed himself. He paused and touched his chest, but the familiar pain had vanished. Finishing his meal, he went to gaze over the high wooden fence in the backyard.
There she was! There was Mrs. Gutierrez, very fat, and as loud as a jukebox, talking to her neighbors on the other side of the lot.
"Lovely lady!" called Mr. Massinello Pietro. "Tonight I go to jail! Your war is fought and won. I give you my saber, my heart, my soul!"
Mrs. Gutierrez came ponderously across the dirt yard. "What?" she said, as if she couldn't see or hear him.
"You told the police, the police told me, and I laughed!" His hand flirted on the air, two fingers wiggling. "I hope you will be happy!"
"I didn't call no police!" she said indignantly.
"Ah, Mrs. Gutierrez, I will write a song for you!"
"All of them other people must've called in," she insisted.
"And when I leave today for jail, I'll have a present for you." He bowed.
"I tell you it wasn't me!" she cried. "You and your mealy mouth!"
"I compliment you," he said sincerely. "You are a civic-minded citizen. All filth, all noise, all odd things must go."
"You, you!" she shouted. "Oh, you!" She had no more words.
"I dance for you!" he sang, and waltzed into the house.We'll Always Have Paris
Stories. Copyright © by Ray Bradbury. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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