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The Illustrated Man

click to enlarge

Corgi, London, 1960
(price: ?; 248 pages)
first published in Great Britain by Rupert Hart-Davis

dedication: This book is for Father, Mother and Skip, with love

The blurb on the back:

'There is no writer quite like Ray Bradbury'
Here is a book which has been 'an open circuit on ideas' - ideas which range from religion to rocket travel, from the world of children's minds to that of the atom bomb. Here is one of the most exciting an original writing talents of our time expressed in a book of which reviewers cheered as:
'Deftly plotted, beautifully written, characterized by protagonists who are intensely real ... There is no writer quite like Ray Bradbury.' -
New York Times
'Even better than his
The Martian Chronicles.' - San Francisco Chronicle

opening lines:
It was a warm afternoon in early September when I first met the Illustrated Man. Walking along an asphalt road, I was on the final leg of a two weeks' walking tour of Wisconsin.

Ray Bradbury hardly needs any further praise from the likes of me, but really his work is right up there amongst the greats of American writing in the 20th century. And this is one of his very finest. It is therefore, by definition, one of the best books of its time.

Essentially it's a collection of short stories, and they're fine works in their own right. But what really lifts the book is the concept linking them together. We are introduced to a man who, back in 1900 when he was just twenty, got the first of his tattoos. Now his body is covered with illustrations and - to his horror and self-hatred - they're not static. They move. They live. They foretell the future. They tell stories. And it is these stories that we hear. A total of eighteen tales of wonderful variation and imagination.

Hugely recommended, the book was filmed in 1969 with husband and wife team Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom being directed by Jack Smight. Inevitably the film trimmed the book considerably but it was still a nice bit of work and rightly celebrated.


wanna see me tattos?
not Rod Steiger
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