This book was an unexpected surprise. I'd read Spark's earliest novels years ago, had only the vague memory that they were enjoyable and well-written. REALITY AND DREAMS is a reminder that Spark is far better than just good. In just 160 pages, she carries off a miracle of imagery, plot twists and character development that swirl about the title's themes and the difficulty that mortals, particularly those engaged in artistic, especially cinematic pursuits, have in distinguishing between the two or understanding how one can beget another. Spark wittily populates her book with a lively, bright ensemble of contemporary British characters whose lives are in one way or another connected with protagonist Tom Richards, a successful movie director. Like most of the characters, he is flawed, but also like most of the characters, there is tension yet some fun in watching him. Appropriate to the theme, Spark creates two films for him to conceive and execute, and such is the power of her vision, they felt real enough that I wanted to see them. She grounds that glamour, however, against the backdrop of contemporary economic realities--redundancy, the British term for unemployment, down-sizing and such becomes a major image and theme as well. Spark's voice is so very truthful throughout, that it is yet another layer of commentary on the relationship between reality and dreams. She can take a bell-clear image, scene or piece of dialogue and make it dense with multiple meaning. Wow! I was very sorry when the book was over.