Through hollow lands and hilly lands

I’ve read a lot of crappy short stories lately. Many were in a stack of anthologies by little known authors I bought at random, and there you expect that writing class air of having laboriously learned how to write, but not having anything to say. But what excuse does Haruki Murakami have? Every story in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman starts out walking cheerfully towards brilliance, but Murakami’s artsy affectations derail them towards the merely clever. What a waste of talent.

And then .. Ray Bradbury. The Golden Apples of the Sun. Perfection. Now, maybe the contrast between this and the previous books has skewed my judgement, but I’ll tell you how I felt when I read it, and then you may decide for yourself if I’m trustworthy or not. Bradbury’s stories have the delicate structure of an origami. They convey emotions that have no name, insane ideas that make sense. Done with less skill the origami would tear, there is no “almost” in this territory, but these, miraculously, never do. The authors I mentioned before all walk in Bradbury’s genre-bending footsteps, and they all fail, but he’s hardly to blame for that. I bow for Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury is God. Okay, that really is the contrast speaking. Then again, maybe one occasionally needs to read bad books, in order to better appreciate the good ones?

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