Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams Paperback – 5 Oct 2006
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"[Alexander McCall Smith's] prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision. This is art that conceals art. I haven't read anything with such unalloyed pleasure for a long time." Sunday Telegraph "Alexander McCall Smith has become one of those commodities, like oil or chocolate or money, where the supply is never sufficient to the demand... [He] is prolific and habit-forming..." Globe And Mail "Alexander McCall Smith's subtle, gentle stories are works of art." Telegraph"
Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Angus comes from myths of Ireland and Scotland. As McCall Smith so eloquently explains in the introduction to his small novel, "Angus puts us in touch with our dreams - those entities which Auden described so beautifully in his Freud poem as the creatures of the night that are waiting for us, that need our recognition." But Angus is also the God of love, youth and beauty. Because of this, any who see him are likely to lose their heart to him.
McCall Smith decides to place Angus within contemporary Scotland. The book is made up of interconnecting stories of people that, in some way, all need to be closer to their dreams. At times, the figure of Angus may seem slightly elusive in certain stories, but ultimately they all have a common thread - that of life being the pursuit of dreams.
Personally, I enjoyed the final chapter, "I dream of you", the most. Here McCall Smith begins with Angus, the God of love who has women throwing themselves at him and yet he is not able to find one woman who he would want to settle down with. Until he himself begins to dream of a beautiful woman - her beauty is so that he is unable to eat, he only thinks of finding her. Later on in the chapter, we learn of a young woman who discovers her husband has had an affair. After leaving him, she begins to put her life back together by seeing a therpaist who encourages her to examine her dreams.
As a short, quiet read, this book serves quite well.Read more ›
The sentences in the book often sparkle with wit and wisdom that will leave you thinking about their wider meaning, rather merely wanting to continue reading the story: "They shouted to one another, words of encouragement, words of dismay at missed chances, urging others to run faster, to outwit the other group." That sentence has more imagination, meat, and insight in it than many novels that I read.
I found that the book was overly tied to the myth of Angus, the god. Mr. McCall Smith is much better with writing about people than writing about gods. With a shift in emphasis toward the current world, this would have been an outstanding, five-star book. As it is, the "current world" sections are terrific.
The Celtic legend is interesting but the book seems quite fragmented, and the stories often tangential to the tale rather than weaving in seamlessly.
It's very short, only about 180 or so pages of large print, so can easily be read in one or two sittings.
Every other chapter retells an ancient story about Angus himself, while the ones in between tell of ordinary mortals affected by Angus in modern-day Scotland, showing how their lives correlate with the ancient stories preceding them. This is an effective structure for showing the relevance of the myths today but for the most parts, I did not find the stories to be particularly engaging. While some were rather touching, I could not relate to the people & situations in most of them, plus Angus himself was utterly unfathomable on any level beyond the most superficial. This was disappointing because surely myths should convey universal truths which apply to us all? I was also expecting a little more depth, such as that displayed by the other books in Canongates' Myth series which I had previously read.
The subject-matter reminded me of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman but there was none of Gaiman's subtlety & daring, and restricting the location to Scotland meant there was none of his creativity either. On the whole, Dream Angus was an enjoyable read but the lightest of Canongates' myths series with much less to say than Weight or The Penelopiad. A nice read but not a particularly exciting or memorable one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
mccall's intelligence and generosity of spirit shines through as ever in this enchanting and though-provoking gem, possible one of the best things he's writtenPublished on 29 Oct. 2012 by mikeen
Judging by the photo of Alec McCall Smith on the Dust jacket of this book, this is an earlier work than his acclaimed Scotland Street series. Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2012 by Maia Russell
The re-telling of an old Celtic myth, I'm still unsure what exactly I thought of this.
Combining (literally chapter by chapter) the story that is Angus (God of dreams... Read more
Angus, we are told, is the Celtic god of dreams. He is the son of the warlike Dagda and of a water spirit called Boann. Read morePublished on 16 May 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
This slim volume is a collection of five contemporary short stories, loosely connected via the threads of an interwoven retelling of the Celtic myth of the god Angus, bringer of... Read morePublished on 15 Feb. 2010 by Steve Benner
Really great book - as it says - myths. Lovely reading, and very enjoyable.Published on 21 Jan. 2010 by M. Reddy