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Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams Paperback – 5 Oct 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Export ed edition (5 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841958433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841958439
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.7 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,540,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[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"

Book Description

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of the Canongate Myth Series in which well known authors are invited to tackle and rewrite their favourite mythological story. It's a great premise and so far has yielded some very interesting work. Here, the prolific author Alexander McCall Smith, perhaps best known for his Mma Ramotswe detective novels, retells the celtic myth of Dream Angus, a kind of proto BFG figure! I enjoyed this book, but felt that at times it was a little fragmented. It is set as a series of interlinked short stories, ricocheting back and forth between telling the story of the creation and life of Dream Angus, and stories set in modern Scotland which take on themes and meaning from their entwining with both the story of Dream Angus and his mythological purpose. Some of the stories are quite brutal, others tender and lyrical, all well written, but it is sometimes hard to see where the myth fits in. Nevertheless, an interesting attempt, and one which works at many, if not all levels.
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Format: Paperback
DREAM ANGUS is part of the Canongate series, in which popular writers take a myth and re-tell it in their owm personal way. Although I have not read any other books by McCall Smith, or any of the other Canongate books, I was quite pleasantly surprised by DREAM ANGUS.

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.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
I find Alexander McCall Smith's stories about Africa and her people to be fascinating. I wondered what his story-telling gift would make of the Celtic god of dreams. The structure surprised me, as the stories moved back and forth between the mythical God and the role of dreams in real life. On occasion, the connections between the stories were wrought with almost sublime irony and meaning. My favorite story in the book is I Dream of You which connects past and present, myth and reality in a most enjoyable way and describes the role that dream therapy can play in helping us.

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.
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By John M VINE VOICE on 7 April 2016
Format: Paperback
This is Alexander McCall Smith's take on a Celtic folk legend about the god Angus who is responsible for dreams and in particular dreams concerning love. It is told in AMS's usual deceptively light but insightful and questioning manner. The Celtic tale is broken up with a few short stories set in modern times concerning dreams which are meant to weave in with aspects of the tale.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Dream Angus is the Celtic God of dreams. As love is the providence of dreams, Angus breaks & mends hearts wherever he roams; according to the author, "he represents the intense, passionate love we experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up." But love can be cruel & while often compassionate (especially to pigs) Angus has a dark side as well...

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.
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