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These Dreams of You

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These Dreams of You Cover

ISBN13: 9781609450632
ISBN10: 1609450639
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One November night in a canyon outside L.A., Zan Nordhoc — a failed novelist turned pirate radio DJ — sits before the television with his small, adopted black daughter, watching the election of his country's first black president. In the nova of this historic moment, with an economic recession threatening their home, Zan, his wife and their son set out to solve the enigma of the little girl's life. When they find themselves scattered and strewn across two continents, a mysterious stranger with a secret appears, who sends the story spiraling forty years into the past.

Review:

"Erickson (Zeroville) follows middle-aged Caucasian Alexander 'Zan' Nordhoc's adoption of a four year-old Ethiopian girl, beginning on the eve of Barack Obama's election and leaping back 50 years and forward to a newly cross-cultural world. Daughter Sheba's arrival coincides with Zan's family's personal recession (soon joined by the nation's). A former professor of pop culture and former novelist, Zan broadcasts underground blues radio from his home in L.A. while his wife, Viv, searches in vain for photography work. 'The little girl who talks like she's twenty' brings issues of race and identity to the center of this family. In danger of losing their house, they are soon dealing with charges of human trafficking and illegal adoption. While Zan ferries Sheba to London for a rare paying lecture gig, Viv goes to Addis Ababa to try to sort out the adoption. But when Viv and Sheba both disappear, Zan is forced to examine his youthful mistakes and misconceptions and confront his dissonant reality. Told in a series of short, punchy sections, Erickson expertly weaves together themes of music, politics, and idealism in a modern story where preconceptions are outdated. Agent: The Melanie Jackson Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Over his entire career Erickson has challenged readers with a fiercely intelligent and surprisingly sensual brand of American surrealism." Washington Post

Review:

"Erickson has established a reputation as a daring, lyrical writer with a strong following among other novelists and a distinctive brand of cultural taste: West Coast, genre-bending and earnestly experimental." LA Times

Review:

"With this book, set against the backdrop of Obama's ascendancy to the presidency, Erickson weaves a complex and imaginative literary tapestry about family and identity." Kirkus (starred review)

Review:

"Erickson's seemingly fractured novel turns out to be something else — the novel as fractal, a series of endless, astounding tessellations." The New York Times

About the Author

Steve Erickson is the author of eight previous novels and two books about American politics and popular culture that have been published in ten languages. His work has appeared in publications such as Esquire, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times Magazine. He is currently the film critic for Los Angeles Magazine and the editor of the literary journal Black Clock, which is published by CalArts. He lives with his family near Los Angeles.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Charles Ellenbogen, May 27, 2013 (view all comments by Charles Ellenbogen)
I found this title on a list of Best American Literature books. Among the predictable other choices, this is the only one I'd never encountered - I'd not heard of either the title or the author. Surprised (and amused that this title is published by Europa Editions), I picked it up.

And I'm glad I did. It's an amazing book - for several reasons.

It's remarkably new, or is it modern? I thought more time would be needed before someone could write a meaningful novel that includes Obama's election, but here it is. Erickson is strangely coy with names. In fact, I knew enough to know that Bob was someone, so I checked a review to find out who he is. I wish I hadn't. I would have figured it out a few pages later.

It's also modern because it focuses on a family facing foreclosure and the details and humiliations involved.

I don't think I'm doing the book justice yet.

Erickson's protagonist thinks hard about race, about why he and his wife have adopted an Ethiopian child, about why he's creating a character who is black, about the meaning of Obama's election, etc..

I read in the review I should not have consulted and in a review of another book somewhere in this blogosphere I'm still exploring a concern about the way author's use coincidences. I just finished teaching A Tale of Two Cities in class, and wasn't he the master of coincidence? So when is a coincidence contrived and when does it work for the novel?

The so-called coincidences work here, I think, because they support the amazing structure of the novel. It's so interwoven it would require a visual aid to explain it. That's not to say it's confusing, just as tightly plotted as it is fragmented. Each section is no longer than a few pages. Many are just a few paragraphs. There are no chapter breaks.

Still, there are parts that made me wonder - that the protagonist and his wife have named their own child Parker (after the musician), that the somewhat-too-wise Sheba (the adopted child) seems to have music coming from her. (Erickson does make that name, bestowed on her by the protagonist and his wife, mean something.)

Erickson's writing is as elegant as his plotting. He takes it up a notch with the section that focuses on Bob, and I expected a let down. I didn't think he could sustain it. He does.

The ending is beautiful, on par, in my mind, with the end of Gatsby. It's not as hypnotic as Fitzgerald's prose, but that wouldn't suit this prose. The last two paragraphs are great; they are music. But the last sentence, a stunning 16 lines in all (including a haunting lack of a capital letter) just blew me away.
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JR jr, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by JR jr)
My favorite read of 2012, I didn't want it to end and I couldn't put it down. Mr. Erickson should receive more recognition than he does. These Dreams of You is museum quality story telling with an especially timely theme that should be made, IMHO, into a big budget major motion picture. Read it, see if you do not agree.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
sgerot, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by sgerot)
Best book of 2012
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781609450632
Author:
Erickson, Steve
Publisher:
Europa Editions
Subject:
General-General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Edition Description:
Mass Market
Publication Date:
20120131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.38 x 0.92 in 0.85 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Metaphysics » Fiction

These Dreams of You New Trade Paper
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Product details pages Europa Editions - English 9781609450632 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Erickson (Zeroville) follows middle-aged Caucasian Alexander 'Zan' Nordhoc's adoption of a four year-old Ethiopian girl, beginning on the eve of Barack Obama's election and leaping back 50 years and forward to a newly cross-cultural world. Daughter Sheba's arrival coincides with Zan's family's personal recession (soon joined by the nation's). A former professor of pop culture and former novelist, Zan broadcasts underground blues radio from his home in L.A. while his wife, Viv, searches in vain for photography work. 'The little girl who talks like she's twenty' brings issues of race and identity to the center of this family. In danger of losing their house, they are soon dealing with charges of human trafficking and illegal adoption. While Zan ferries Sheba to London for a rare paying lecture gig, Viv goes to Addis Ababa to try to sort out the adoption. But when Viv and Sheba both disappear, Zan is forced to examine his youthful mistakes and misconceptions and confront his dissonant reality. Told in a series of short, punchy sections, Erickson expertly weaves together themes of music, politics, and idealism in a modern story where preconceptions are outdated. Agent: The Melanie Jackson Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Over his entire career Erickson has challenged readers with a fiercely intelligent and surprisingly sensual brand of American surrealism."
"Review" by , "Erickson has established a reputation as a daring, lyrical writer with a strong following among other novelists and a distinctive brand of cultural taste: West Coast, genre-bending and earnestly experimental."
"Review" by , "With this book, set against the backdrop of Obama's ascendancy to the presidency, Erickson weaves a complex and imaginative literary tapestry about family and identity."
"Review" by , "Erickson's seemingly fractured novel turns out to be something else — the novel as fractal, a series of endless, astounding tessellations."
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