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From the Dust Returned: A Novel Hardcover – October 2, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380973820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380973828
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

High on a hill by a forked tree, the House beckons its family homeward, and they come--travelers from the lyrical, lush imagination of Ray Bradbury.

From the Dust Returned chronicles a community of eternal beings: a mummified matriarch who speaks in dust; a sleeping daughter who lives through the eyes and ears of the creatures she visits in her dreams; an uncle with wings like sea-green sails. And there is also the mortal child Timothy, the foundling son who yearns to be like those he loves: to fly, to sleep in daytime, and to live forever. Instead, his task is to witness the family's struggle with the startling possibility of its own end.

Bradbury is deservedly recognized as a master of lyricism and delicate mood. In this novel he weaves together individuals' stories and the overarching family crisis into a softly whispered, seductive tale of longing and loss, death and life in the shadowy places. --Roz Genessee

From Publishers Weekly

If there's a fountain of youth, Bradbury has found it. In the 1940s, at the start of his extraordinary writing career, Bradbury produced a series of popular fantasy short stories about the Elliot family, an assortment of vampires and other odd creatures of various degrees of humanity living in a Victorian castle in the golden Indiana of his youth. More than half a century later, he has fashioned from these stories a novel, funny, beautiful, sad and wise, to rank with his finest work. Full of wide-eyed wonder and dazzling imagery, the stories retain as an integrated whole all their original freshness and charm. The plot is simplicity itself: the vampires and their weird kin gather for a homecoming and share memories. Among them are Timothy, a foundling, whose pet spider is named Arach (originally Spid), and Cecy, immobile in bed but able to enter the minds of others and control their actions. Once, Cecy got a young woman to treat an unwanted but worthy suitor more politely than she would have otherwise: "Peering down from the secret attic of this lovely head, Cecy yanked a hidden copper ventriloquist's wire and the pretty mouth popped wide: `Thank you.' " Einar, a winged man, acts as a kite for children, writing "a great and magical exclamation mark across a cloud!" Most memorable of a remarkable cast are A Thousand Times Great Grand-Mere, who had been "a pharaoh's daughter dressed in spider linens," and her husband, Grand-Pere, who after four thousand years still has ideas. "At your age!" she snaps. This book will shame the cynics and delight the true believers who never lost faith in their beloved author. (Oct. 8)2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012) published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'The Illustrated Man,' and 'The Martian Chronicles.'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Rob Damm on November 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If I could blame one author for my life-long obsession with the printed word, Ray Bradbury would be a likely scapegoat. His strange and sad stories are so braided with my own memories, it's sometimes hard to sort them out. After years of studying and teaching literature, I still maintain that Bradbury is a visionary. Yes, in my studies I've encountered plenty of cynics who would mock him as a sappy crackpot, but my love for his skewed tales has survived. That said, I strongly believe "From The Dust Returned" is his strongest work. A novel even the most screw-faced doubter must grudgingly admit is brilliant. I'm not trying to be grim when I say this, but it strikes me at once as the sort of book which could only be written by a great man near the end of his life. It has a sweeping, elegiac quality and easily meets all the expectations one might have for a novel 50 years in the womb. Of course, it is full of the fantastic, the sad, the phantasmagoric-- all crystalized in the amber of Bradbury's inimitable prose. It is a book of rememberances, through the vivid lense of childhood. It is a novel about everything-- love, death, faith. Above all, it is a novel about imagination and memory, and how through those concepts, it may be possible to, in a small way, cheat fate. I've read it twice already, and repeated readings are not only needed by infinitely pleasing. The writing is at once sparse and simple, but full of infinite secrets.
If you are a lover of Bradbury, you don't need my recomendation. If you are jaded soldier of the literary battle fields, come home to this wonder-full book and rediscover why you started reading books in the first place.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By C. Fletcher on November 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Never mind Reggie Jackson. I've always thought of Ray Bradbury as Mr. October. Hearing the name Bradbury conjures images for me of street gutters overflowing with piles of slick autumn leaves, the air saturated with the sharp scent of woodsmoke. Bradbury means brief, shadow-strewn, priceless afternoons seamlessly spilling over into long, sweet-smelling nights. It means being a child and falling in love with reading for the first time. It means being in love with life and being amazed by all of the possibilities of the imagination. Bradury also means combating the forces that would strip these feelings of freedom from your soul. Bradbury is a force for good, a medicine for melancholy, and as such, never goes out of style.
Ray Bradbury's new book, From the Dust Returned: A Family Remembrance, his first novel of the 21st century, began life over fifty years ago, in the first half of the 20th century, as a short story called "Homecoming." Originally published in the 1946 Halloween issue of The New Yorker, along with an illustration by Charles Addams, creator of The Addams Family, "Homecoming" told the story of a family of strange nocturnal creatures-possibly vampires, possibly not-who lived in a grand old gabled house somewhere in the mythical October Country of Illinois. Drawn largely from his childhood experiences with his own large, eccentric family, Bradbury's Elliotts were overrun with strange aunts and uncles, weird nieces and nephews. Some could travel the world without ever leaving the attic. Some could fly, some were as old as the oldest grain sand in the Egyptian desert. At the time, Bradbury planned on fleshing the story out, and made plans with Charles Addams to collaborate on what would become an illustrated family history of the Elliotts.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. F Gulvezan on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For many years Ray Bradbury has either been ignored or judged harshly by most critics. The people who appreciate him most are fellow-writers (such as Stephen King) who understand what he's doing, and the millions of readers who continue to read and re-read his books. What Ray is doing is writing some of the best fantasy stories and novels ever written. One hundred years from now I'll bet most of the critics' current darlings will be long forgotten, but that Bradbury, like E.A. Poe, will still be widely read. This latest novel is something of a miracle. In it, Ray has returned to the family of extraordinary characters he created in the 1940's in great stories such as "Uncle Einar" and "Spring Witch" and written about a reunion of this family. This is fantasy at its best and may be one of the best books in Ray's long career. I salute you, Ray Bradbury, for providing me with a lifetime of insight, unforgettable stories and characters, and all-around great reading. The brilliant Russian writer, Yuri Dombrovsky, who was suppressed and imprisoned during the communist period, uses a quote from Ray at the beginning of his masterpiece, THE FACULTY OF USELESS KNOWLEDGE: "And when they ask us what we're doing, you can say, We're remembering. That's where we'll win out in the long run. And some day we'll remember so much that we'll...dig the biggest grave of all time..." I salute you, Ray Bradbury, the Great Rememberer.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Ryan on July 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love passionately the incomparable writing style of Ray Bradbury. His imagery and descriptions are always unique in a way that no other author has been able to approach. It's like comparing a dense fudge to plain, cakey brownies; hey, you gotta love brownies but the fudge will blow them out of the water every time.

The Elliot family is a motley collection of supernatural beings from every corner of the planet. For whatever reason, they have picked a house out in the middle of Nowhere, America to collect and settle in for their regular (once or twice a century) gatherings. The core family, Mother, Father, Grandmere, Grandpere, Cecy and Tommy, remain to hold the fort in between. Little mortal Tommy is the only one who doesn't fit in, but only because he was adopted; and oh, what he wouldn't give to be able to fly like Uncle Einar or change bodies like Cecy! For the enchantment he feels when listening to Grandmere's stories of the Family is made up of good old-fashioned wonder and love.

Bradbury's recent book From the Dust Returned is exactly as rich and magical as I would have expected from this author. Small wonder, as he has had decades to perfect every well-honed metaphor. This slow is apparently an advantage to character development and visualization, but a plot cobbled together of several previously published short stories does leave the storyline weakened. Still, for Bradbury devotees like me it is not to be missed. Would you pass up a chocolately ganache torte just because somebody left out the pecans? I would hope not.

-lil' readin' sprite
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