Review

We'll Always Have Paris: Stories

by Ray Bradbury

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS is a collection of 22
never-before-published short stories written by one of the most
celebrated authors of our time. These tales are mostly about men,
or sometimes about men and women, and seem fresh and strange yet
completely familiar.

In "Ma Perkins Comes to Stay," Ray Bradbury describes a man
going crazy (or is he?) when a radio personality comes to stay at
his house. Joe has heard of Ma Perkins because she gives advice on
the radio. But he can't understand how she has come out of the
radio to be sitting in his living room or why his wife is happy
about it and not confused in the least.

Just as I was wondering where the science fiction that I had
heard so much about was, I came to "Fly Away Home," a story of Mars
exploration. Again, the theme of going crazy appears with the
possibility that going insane is just a form of sanity. After all,
it would be natural to feel uncomfortable after a six-month trip in
a spaceship, correct?

"Miss Appletree and I" returns to the examination of long,
successful marriages and what they mean. George and Nora have had a
long-running joke that George has an ongoing affair with Miss
Appletree, a beautiful woman with better qualities than Nora. As
their marriage becomes dull, it is Nora, not George, who suggests
that he bring up his "mistress" again.

Many of the stories seem reminiscent of Roald Dahl's creepy,
strange tales that were at once simple and surreal. "The Murder"
comes out of a bet that Mr. Hill makes with Mr. Bentley, who
insists that he could never commit murder. Twenty cents goes to the
winner of the bet: either Mr. Hill can trick Mr. Bentley into a
killing, or Mr. Bentley is as kind and normal as he says.

The title story is not just a retelling of Casablanca.
Instead, it describes how two men meet in the middle of the night
in Paris while one is out getting pizza for his wife. It takes the
classic scene of tourists meeting locals and not understanding them
and adds a touch of the surreal and strange to it.

Somehow I've missed out on reading Bradbury my entire life, and
I couldn't decide if obscure short stories were the place to begin
when he has such famous works to be read. This collection seems a
bit better suited to an older or male reader than to myself, but it
picks up steam as it goes along, and the selections in the second
half are more interesting than the ones in the beginning.

Titles such as "We'll Always Have Paris" and "Come Away With Me"
bring up flashes of the movies or songs in which the phrases also
appear, and other stories are so true to life that they feel like I
have already lived them. "Un-pillow Talk," almost entirely in
dialogue, is like a story version of When Harry Met
Sally
.

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS is heavily populated with characters.
The people, sometimes strange and sometimes down to earth, are the
most colorful things in the book. Each story is snappy and easy to
read, yet you'll always want to go back and check it out again.

We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
by Ray Bradbury

  • Publication Date: January 26, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Short Stories
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0061670146
  • ISBN-13: 9780061670145