The official plot blurb: (gotta admit I am tired of trying to condense plotlines of complex books into one paragraph or so on my own without giving anything away. I have no talent for this, so I have decided to let the authors themselves do the heavy lifting.)
This is a very clever and entertaining novel about Robert Munro, a psychotherapist who specializes in dream interpretation, and whose life suddenly seems to unravel in front of his eyes: His son is seeing imaginary friends, his depressed wife is taking off on a holiday to Mexico and he experiences very disturbing phenomena himself.
As the lines between his own reality and a dream-like world of inexplicable experiences blur, he realizes that he needs to look deeper into his own repressed memories and issues.
No longer certain of anything he is stunned by the messages his subconscious is sending him, trying to figure out what it is telling him through his dreams and suddenly so vivid imagination.
Robert is a pedantic theorist who is quickly out of his comfort zone. As he discovers his inner child, re-discovers his passion for music and resolves his hurt, things become clearer to him and result in a beautiful denouement.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m all about the beautiful denouement, but what this book is about is dreams. And reality, and just which is which. One character asks the good doctor: “What if we woke up from this dream that we call reality only to find ourselves in another dream? Maybe we’re living in a dream, within a dream.” She gives him a sip of a homeopathic potion for his headache, which then over the next several days seems to produce odd visions, and even odder dreams. Or did it? Was THAT all a dream?
The book is sprinkled with quotes about dreams, which I just loved. Like, fr’instance:
Sigmund Freud – The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
Edgar Allen Poe: All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.
George Eliot – Much of our waking experience is but a dream in the daylight.
Jane Roberts – Dreaming or awake, we perceive only events that have meaning to us.
Stephen Vincent Benet – Dreaming men are haunted men.
Gao Zingjian – Dreams are more real than reality itself, they’re closer to the self.
There are quotes by Plutarch, Shakespeare, Carl Jung, Tennyson, and many others.
Strange things happen, like the new guard and barrier across his office door. He can’t seem to break through the metal.
What kind of metal is this?” Robert asked. “It’s Shakespearean metal,”, replied Gruffy, in a superior tone. “Shakespearean metal?” “Yeah,” responded Gruffy, “it’s made of the same stuff that dreams are made of.”
Are dreams the thin veil that separates this world from another? What function do they serve? Have you ever noticed that only rarely while you are dreaming are you aware that you are dreaming. That world seems as real as this world. Hmmm. Or is it the other way around? As Stephen LaBerge says:
Pause now to ask yourself the following question: “Am I dreaming or awake, right now?” Be serious, really try to answer the question to the best of your ability and be ready to justify your answer.
Well, which are you?