There is hardly an old London house that does not have its sad lady of mists crying before dawn.

I love that feeling, when you suddenly realise that you absolutely CANNOT LIVE without your very own copy of a particular book (in this case, one first read from a library), despite the fact that it/the edition you desire is currently out of print, and so off you flail in a manic book-hunt.

The last time that happened to me, it was Laura Argiri’s The God in Flight. (And now that I do own a copy of it, I would grab the damn thing in a housefire. I love it that much.)

This time, it’s Ray Bradbury’s From the Dust Returned. Technically, it’s still in print, in a new edition; but after taking one glance at the new book design I think I’d really rather just pretend it wasn’t. The original is glorious, and manages to perfectly capture the feel of the text itself, with one of the most fantastic cover paintings I have ever seen and ghastly-darling little illustrations nestled in alongside the type, skeletons and spiders and autumn leaves.

I need that one.

Of course, that one can now go for over a hundred dollars.

Ah well.

That can just make the hunt more fun! And in any case, the book would actually be worth it, to me.

The first time I ever read Bradbury (The October Country), I was almost immediately asking myself why in the hell I had never read him before, and how in the hell had I survived without.

This second time, now, I am wondering why the hell I did not spend the entire interrim devouring everything else this man ever wrote (what is wrong with me?), and which of his other works I will be devouring next.

Whatever it is, I am excited. ♥

Even though I’ve not even finished From the Dust Returned yet, and am only a little more than halfway through, I don’t care. I already know that I need it, that when I make my move overseas to England it will be one of the books that I take with me, shipping fees and luggage space be damned.

I knew it when I got to the chapter Many Returns, the story-within-a-story of a ghost plagued by unbelief and the living woman who nurses him back to health with a steady diet of stories, all ‘for a lark’.

“Oh, but I dreamed you as a child, long before I met someone like you, in the mists and rains of Ireland. At age nine I searched the moors for the Baskerville Hound.
“Yes,” said the ghastly passenger. “You are English and the English believe!”
“True. Better than Americans, who doubt. French? Cynics! English is best. There is hardly an old London house that does not have its sad lady of mists crying before dawn.”

Yes. I need a copy of this book to keep as a sort of totem (not as a reminder, because it’s not as though I could ever forget), as a physical representation of the power of stories and the inability to exist without them. Of the inescapable pull to go to where these stories are strongest, where they still hang heavy in the air like fog.

I love that feeling, too, when a book wraps up everything you could want and need, and puts in all into a pretty little package that you can hold within your hands. ♥


6 thoughts on “There is hardly an old London house that does not have its sad lady of mists crying before dawn.

  1. I’m glad you commented on fuccinct because I love your blog! My son-in-law is from England! I love the quote at the top of the post. “There is hardly an old London house that does not have its sad lady of mists crying before dawn.” Have you read Touch Magic by Jane Yolen? I’m sure you would relish it if you did.

    • Ahh, thank you so much! :) (Fuccinct really is fantastic, and I’m very excited to see more of your own blog.)

      I’ve not yet read Touch Magic, actually, but it definitely looks like something I would love. Thank you for the recommendation; I’ll have to check it out! ♥

  2. I always found it fascinating (and sweet) how much of Ray Bradbury’s work comes around to make a point about the power, pleasure and necessity of writing. (Perhaps I should say “storytelling” more generally, but often it is about the written word specifically.) Many of his stories come around to explore what writing actually *does* – for individuals or the wider community, for writers or their readers. It just shines through, over and over, how much he really loved and believed in what he was doing as a writer.

    So while I have not read ‘From the Dust Returned’, I can imagine perfectly well that a Bradbury book would serve as a fitting ‘totem’ for you. :)

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