Wednesday 6 June 2012

Some writers get under my skin so thoroughly that it startles me to realise that they are a part of everybody's world too, that other people read and love them and that they have their weak books too. It is only with the hindsight of decades sometimes that I can discern that they're part of my own DNA as a writer, reader and human being.

Ray Bradbury, Charles Baudelaire and Italo Calvino were the last great literary discoveries of my childhood; the books I first read by them were The Toynbee Convector, which struck me as a more magical, more lyrical version of what I'd been getting from my father's Stephen King novels, Le Fleurs Du Mal which I was too young to read and will still be returning to when too old and Invisible Cities, one of four or five books that may be my favourite of all time.

It sounds solipsistic to say so, but it still startles me to know that a writer who has been part of my life, my growing up and my becoming myself is part of everybody's world too; to know that they are real and can sometimes fall short and can sometimes excel my initial contact with them (The October Country, The Martian Chronicles) and that they can die.

Ray Bradbury was alive my whole life until today; he was a part of my DNA as a writer, reader and human being as he is to many others. I won't say he never let me down; but who hasn't? He's dead now, but still under my skin. May his books never burn.


Space Bar said...

May his books never burn.

Indeed. RIP.

Feline said...

May he now enjoy his travels with Mr Moundshroud in October Country. He'll always stay under my skin. It's hard to come to terms with him being gone. He got me into reading these books for goodness sake with just one story.