Oh God, midnight’s not bad, you wake and go back to sleep, one or two’s not bad, you toss but sleep again. Five or six in the morning, there’s hope, for dawn’s just under the horizon. But three, now, Christ, three A.M.!A quote which is not so representative of the book, but will strike a chord with anyone who has ever grappled with insomnia.
This is of course a classic, but was also one of the books listed in the Locus Poll of Best 20th Century Fantasy which spurred me to get it. I was familiar with Bradbury's style, both lyrical and stark at the same time, from The Martian Chronicles and other short stories; I am not actually sure that I had read one of his novels before. It is an effective tale of a creepy carnival coming to a small Mid-Western town, the central characters being two teenage boys and the older father of one of them; apart from the spooky adventure there are musings on adulthood and aging. I see that Bradbury was in his early 40s when he wrote this; that's the point when the limits of your lifespan really start to hit most people. I enjoyed it a lot.