Bradbury kept alive the intense light, enchantment and hyper sensitivity of childhood in his writing as an adult. I know of few other writers who called upon and sustained this quality with such power throughout the main body of their work. Charles Dickens and Stephen King certainly do, and it is one of the marks of a great writer. Rereading Bradbury by the shelf-load in my late twenties was as much a transporting experience for me as it was when his books were read to me as a boy. He’s most often seen as a writer for young people, and he is a wonderful writer for the young, but he is also a writer who can deliver a jaded adult back into childhood within a few sentences. Dandelion Wine is a great American novel, and one of the great novels about childhood. And I think his stories in books such as Golden Apples of the Sun can be as close to magic realism as they are to science fiction or the American Gothic for which he is best known. He was, and will continue to be, a close friend to the imagination for many people, young and old.
At the height of his powers his stories were a multi-sensory wonderland, and I think many of us wanted to go and live in Bradbury Land at one time or another in our lives, which may have been the same place he was yearning for, or was perhaps even his muse. Just his name inspires sensations of warmth, and the prospect of adventure and companionship. I think most importantly, his writing will always be one of the great doors that opens directly into the imagination. A natural poet, a magician of language, and a champion of compassion and redemption.
R is for Radiant, B is for Brilliant.