Farewell Summer is Ray Bradbury's self-declared second half of his much-loved autobiographical novel Dandelion Wine, first published in 1957. We return to the story to find the now-14-year-old Douglas Spaulding on the cusp of adolescence in Green Town, Illinois. But, without quite knowing why, the teenager is struggling against the daily encroachment of age, adulthood and time itself. Doug leads his gang of almost-teens in a war against Green Town's senior citizens, who are believed to be killing summer and forcing time onto the kids. Members of Doug's gang steal the chess pieces off the park chess tables, sneak into the town hall and sabotage the town clock. All the while, Doug is being challenged by his younger brother Tom, who is still a child, still a boy, while Doug is beginning to experience flashes of adulthood.
Bradbury is still a master at catching the fleeting moments of adolescence and the hopeful and beautiful instances of intergenerational communication. The novel's conclusion may leave readers more than a little puzzled and uncomfortable, but getting to that end has many of the familiar joys of Bradbury's previous work. Gavin J. Grant is the co-editor of The Year's Best Fantasy &andamp; Horror: 2006 (St. Martin's).