Book Review: From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

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Title: From the Dust Returned

Author: Ray Bradbury

Genre: Classic/Horror/Fantasy

Number of Pages: 204

Rating: A-

Recommended?: Yes



Lots of people have weird families, but Timothy’s creepy brood is on a whole other level of bizarre. Of course, he sticks out like a sore thumb because he’s the adopted human son of monster parents. His sister has ESP-like abilities and lies around most of the day in a near-catatonic state exploring time and space, his extended family consists of witches, zombies, demons, and gargoyles, and even the house where he and his immediate family reside seems to possess some measure of sentience.


Timothy’s family thinks his mortality is a tragic hindrance and wants make him into one of them (after killing him first, of course) but Timothy sees how sad living for thousands of years has made them, especially when society has stopped believing in them and don’t fear them anymore.


    From the Dust Returned wasn’t as character-driven as the kind of stuff I usually like but conceptually and in terms of it’s world-building I thought it was ingenious. It’s starting to seem like I can’t go wrong with Ray Bradbury; I’ll have to admit that between the two books I’ve read by him so far I still prefer Fahrenheit 451 but to be fair that’s a tough one to top. This book tended to jump around a bit so that some of the chapters had a more short story-ish quality. I liked some of plotlines better than others but I liked the way the fit into each other because it let the reader see the fantasy world Ray Bradbury had created from a variety of different angles.


The supernatural creatures weren’t exactly ‘nice’ but they were also less cruel and frightening than you might expect. Their unconventional behavior and the way they clash with normal society adds some humor to the story too. Timothy’s parents seem to care for him in a weird way even though they see his humanity is a defect they need to cure. The ending is very strange while still managing to offer a satisfying resolution and Timothy’s childhood experiences give readers a markedly different coming-of-age from the thousands of more conventional stories out there.


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