I read an interview with Ray Bradbury not so long ago, where he was talking about re-reading one of his own, older books (Dandelion Wine, I think), and he said he realized that he was never going to write anything that good again - he was amazed that he had written it. It was one of the saddest things from an author that I've heard... Unfortunately, reading this more recent book (2001), I see what he means. The book is not without its charms - but parts of it were initially written in the 1940's, others at other times, and it has a cobbled-together sort of feeling. In the past Bradbury has masterfully put together short stories to create a novel (The Martian Chronicles, for example, one of my favorite books), but this book just didn't convince me. Which is too bad, because I really like the theme - a mystical, Addams-family type group of weird characters with strange and occult talents, living semi-secretly among us regular humans... The note by Bradbury is interesting, talking about how he and Addams developed these similar ideas separately, but had talked about doing an illustrated book together - the project never came to fruition, but one of Addams' pictures is the cover art for this book. I wish they had done it, when they first talked about it.