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These Dreams of You Paperback – 31 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 Original edition (31 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450632
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Black Orchid on 20 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'These Dreams of You' is very much a Steve Erickson novel in terms of his melancholic exploration of human relationships - linking characters through seemingly coincidental actions spanning broad timescales and locations. There are also a number of recurring characters and themes in his novels which his faithful readers have come to recognise, and this is no exception.

However, the book is primarily a political commentry on race and the role it plays in family life in modern America. It asks questions of the reader - is it ok for a white novelist to make a character black for no other reason than that's the way he imagines her? Is it even relevant to point out the race of the character? As the novelist re-writes his own journey for culture, does a polictian re-live a fate predetermined by the same culture?

The story follows a couple, Zan and Viv, in their search for the biological mother of their adopted Ethiopian daughter. Their financial struggles and demands of parenthood colour their journey with desperation and determination. There are many references and integrations of real life personalities, politcians and pop stars along the way, who although are not named directly go undisguised. For me this deflects from Erickson's own ideas and narrative, and feels at times a little lazy for such a talented and imaginative writer.

The book is a very straight-forward read. Its short passages in place of chapters makes it difficult to put down, and the suggested character connections are less of a puzzle than some of Erickson's earlier works. Though it has to be said, this also makes it less rewarding.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Oh, the characters! 30 Mar 2012
By JJohnston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fell in love with the characters in Steve Erickson's "These Dreams of You"! Even though Zan, Viv, Parker & Sheba end up on the strangest of journeys, they still represent an All-American family -- one that struggles to take care of each other physically and emotionally and to create a unique family identity and history. The author absolutely captures how completely the love you feel as a parent takes over your life -- how desperate, overwhelming, and beautiful that is.

Erickson performs literary yoga here, brilliantly bending the narrative through our nation's recent past utilizing social, political and musical references. The masterful writing skills are evident, but they don't overpower the compelling characters and story here. You're pulling for all of them through the last page.

One of the ways I know that I know I loved a book, not just liked it, is that I want to keep it in my library to come back and read again. "These Dreams of You" is now part of my permanent collection.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An attempt at interpretation. 2 Mar 2012
By Timothy Chambers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Steve Erickson's ninth novel, These Dreams of You follows the travails of an American family in contemporary America following their adoption of an Ethiopian child, and their struggle to keep themselves housed and fed, when both partners are unemployed, and their quest for the child's birth mother. Beginning with the election of Barrack Obama, it asks the question of what our concept of America is, and what must be done to heal the lesions in the body politic inflicted by slavery and segregation. It resolves itself in a situation all too many people today find themselves in, leaving the reader to wonder in the end if we must destroy ourselves in order to realize our highest ideals.

One can imagine the Literalists fumigating over this book, for the way it weaves a counterpoint of interconnected fictions, of fictions within fictions in which life intersects with art and art intersects with life, that could only occur in a world in which policy based on magical thinking supplants policy based on realism, and in which the literalists, generally support the policies of magical thinking. It's an extremely witty book in that way, even though it doesn't seem to be intended as satire. It is an altogether fascinating read, delivered in chapters of less than a page, but easily digested of a lazy Sunday afternoon. It is best to read it in its entirety to get the full flavor of it.

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Great American Novel 4 Feb 2012
By Surfer Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
These Dreams of You is extraordinary moving and rich with big ideas. It's an LA story, an American story, a story for our times. I couldn't put it down, and I stayed up way too late reading until the last astounding and heroic paragraph. These Dreams of You is the writing of a lifetime. If you're a fan of Erickson's previous novels, you'll be thrilled with this latest book. If you're a new reader, you've just discovered an incredible gem: Erickson's story lines span continents and decades, his observations make you feel as if you're eavesdropping, and his prose is a joy to get lost in. This is no less than a Great American Novel. I loved it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A new blast from a great novelist of America 3 Sep 2012
By Andrew C Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I discovered Erickson's first two novels -- Days Between Stations and Rubicon Beach, both mid-'80s Vintage Contemporaries, with that over-designed look that signaled Smart and Literate to so many of us in those days -- as remainders not too long after publication, right next to each other on a table in a mall bookstore that's probably been gone for two decades. And they were just the beginning of a long, strange career, through six more novels and two non-fiction books (though one of those involved traveling the US, during an election year, with the ghost of Sally Hemmings, and the other was a similarly phantasmagorical story of another election year -- Erickson is as fearless when he tells the truth as when he tells stories) over the next two and a half decades.

Erickson could be the American J.G. Ballard -- his obsessions and imagery is different, but he's equally captured by his own imagination and driven to write surrealistic, fantasy-tinged versions of his homeland to work out the differences between how the world does work and how it should work. All of his books have unlikely and fantastic elements -- near-future dystopia, the career of Hitler's private pornographer, a hero who only parrots back the last opinion he's heard, lakes suddenly appearing in downtown Los Angeles -- and a sense of America as a land of myth and possibility. (Not a perfect land by any means, but a land containing wonders and vastness.)

THESE DREAMS OF YOU extends Erickson's world further, having perhaps the least focus on his homeland of any of his novels. It's the story of a failed LA novelist and former college professor, Alexander "Zan" Nordhoc, who now only works as a "pirate radio DJ" (which doesn't pay, of course), along with the rest of his family -- struggling photographer wife Viv, twelve-year old Parker, and their newly adopted four-year-old Ethiopian daughter Sheba/Zema, preternaturally aware and present -- who have been spat out by the recent financial crisis (it hit just after they adopted Sheba) and are waiting for either something good to finally happen to them or the banks to finally get organized to take away their over-leveraged, under-paid-for house away from them.

But DREAMS then sends Zan and his family away from that home and America -- first he gets an offer to give a very remunerative lecture at a London college (set up, perhaps out of guilt, by an ex-lover of Viv's), and then questions about Sheba's mother sends members of the family to Ethiopia and Berlin. DREAMS's plot is a whirlpool, spiraling out of control and dragging the members of the Nordhoc family away from each other before they finally can pull themselves together. Along the way, Erickson is as thematically focused on what it means to be an American now -- during a major financial crisis, thrilled by the first black President, representing your country abroad after a decade of wars of choice -- and how Zan and Viv live up or down to those possibilities.

THESE DREAMS OF YOU is one of Erickson's most accessible novels, without major intrusions of the fantastic or complicated structures, while still acting like a stream of consciousness blast straight from the heart of America to the world. Erickson cares passionately about what America is and means, and has once again embodied what the world is like today into a fabulous, compelling fictional form.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Erickson in the Real World 8 Sep 2012
By Matt Keto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
His most linear work. Still--effortlessly connecting Obama, Bowie, Robert Kennedy, the trials of adoption, the stress of providing for a family and a song that's been playing since the beginning of time--Erickson's continuing to map a territory only he travels.

A magnificent book.

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