Friday, March 16, 2012

Dream Novels

Dreams are a funny thing. They can either mean the visions that come to us while we are asleep, or they can be the hopes and desires that humans wish for. The following books present both.

I have always loved the title Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (M) by Phillip K Dick. Just something about it tickles my fancy. Most people were introduced to this story by the movie Blade Runner, which is loosely based on Dick’ science fiction novel. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter of androids. He desires to own a real sheep instead of an electric one, but they are rare and expensive. In order to buy one Deckard will have to eliminate a group of Nexus-6 androids that have returned to earth illegally. The difficulty is that with advances to technology, it is increasingly difficult to tell androids and humans apart. When he falls in love with the android Rachael, he begins to lose sight of his goal. Will Deckard ever get his sheep? Read the novel to find out.

I love the cover of Joyner’s Dream (M) by Sylvia Tyson. Most people will recognize Sylvia Tyson as one half of the Canadian music group Ian & Sylvia (M). She has now taken her songwriting skills to create a sweeping family saga. The multi-generational musical Joyner-Fitzhelm tells the story from 1788 to 2006, from England to Toronto, with a stop in Halifax in between. Wherever musicians gather, thievery abounds is the old story and it is true in this novel as well. Joyner’s Dream follow the lives and music played by the fiddlers of the family, the journeys taken and the dreams dreamt.

Requiem for a Dream (M) by Hubert Selby is a disturbing novel that will haunt you. Less a dream than a nightmare, the novel is about four addicts whose lives are spinning out of control as their addictions claim them. Harry is addicted to illegal drugs but the story of his mother disturbed me even more. Sara is a lonely woman whose dream is to be on television. Someone from a casting agency gets her hopes up and she spends the next few months on diet pills to which she becomes addicted. Each of the characters are tragic and realistic. As I stated, this novel still haunts me years after I read it.

Alexander McCall Smith is best known for his mysteries but he has tackled a Celtic myth in Dream Angus : the Celtic god of dreams (M). This is part of a series (M) of books on myths that has writers such as Margaret Atwood, Victor Pelevin and Jeanette Winterson rewriting myths. Angus is the Celtic god of dreams and is the son of warlike Dagda and a water spirit, Boann. Angus is a gentle god, one who distributes sweet dreams of love. He transforms himself into a swan in order to be with the woman he loves. McCall Smith retells the myth in the setting of twentieth century Scotland and Angus is a psychotherapist who helps people understand their dreams. The author unites dream and reality but leaves the readers to wonder what is life but the pursuit of dreams?

I hope that all your reading dreams come true.

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