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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Library edition (Nov. 3 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781423321019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423321019
  • ASIN: 1423321014
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 2.5 x 16.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels and the 44 Scotland Street novels has always included one-offs and detours in his oeuvre (including The Criminal Law of Botswana). Here, he turns in an elegant contemporary reworking of the ancient Celtic myth of the dream-giver god, Angus, familiar from Yeats's poetry. Lovely, fair Angus is the son of the terrible club-wielding god, Dagda, who sired the boy by ravishing the lovely water nymph Boann. The young boy who charms birds and inspires marvelous dreams is soon snatched from his mother and raised by Dagda's other son, the grown Midir. After some trials, Angus eventually learns who his true father is and tricks Dagda into relinquishing power. Smith fluidly weaves in contemporary vignettes of the dream god's benevolent influence, touching the lives of honeymooners on a windswept northern island; of a teenage boy sent away to boarding school in Scotland who tricks his mother into revealing who his true father is; and of a Toronto woman bereft at the discovery that her husband is having an affair. Angus, who presides over love and youth is also, it turns out, kindly to pigs. He is nicely reimagined in this spare, polished work. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Scotsman McCall Smith's lyrical retelling of the ancient tale of Angus, Celtic god of dreams and love, is the latest entry in Canongate's Myth series, featuring such literary notables as Margaret Atwood, Chinua Achebe, and Karen Armstrong. Angus is the son of chief Celtic god Dagda and Boann, a water nymph. Soon after his birth, the infant is snatched up by his formidable father and delivered to Dagda's other son, Midir, to be raised. Too young to know better, Angus assumes his brother is his father. The clever boy soon learns the truth and plays a trick on his self-absorbed dad. Alongside this playful plot, McCall Smith weaves modern-day yarns in which well-intentioned (and often devious) Angus transforms troubled lives: he remedies a newlywed couple's rocky start; bonds two beloved Scottish brothers, soon to be separated by thousands of miles; and quietly intercedes to prevent a father and son from coming to blows. Best known for his internationally best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the prolific McCall Smith has delighted readers with books on topics ranging from eccentric German professors to Scottish sleuths and sausage dogs. This slim, elegant volume is further evidence of his consummate ability to blend wit, wisdom, and heart. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Format: Paperback
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. If he is the right mood, he might grant you a sight of your true love in a dream; you might even fall in love with him but it won't be reciprocated. Angus is far too busy making mischief: stealing the palace of the gods from Dagda and turning his enemies into pigs. Until one day he is trapped in his own romantic games, and transforms into a swan to be with the woman he loves.

Against this retelling of an ancient myth, part of an oral tradition, are a series of short stories set in 20th century Scotland. Angus's troubled alter ego searches for his real family, and there's a psychotherapist who helps people to understand their dreams. These stories become a modern version of Angus, for in myths, anything is possible.

In Celtic mythology, Angus has a number of roles. He is at his best both as trickster and dream-giver in this book. I read this in one sitting and enjoyed the journey.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 3 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 31 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A Dream to Read! Sept. 30 2006
By Amy Aldrich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am not all that familiar with Celtic mythology and had actually never heard of Angus (god of dreams and love), so I was a bit worried that some bits of the story would be lost on me...but I need not have worried. Dream Angus is a quite a wonderful retelling of this myth. After doing a bit of research, I find that McCall Smith has kept the bones from source material and dressed them up in contemporary garments and he has, I believe, done it a very likeable and compelling way! Like a couple of others in this series, we are presented with vignettes which weave back and forth between ancient mythological settings and more contemporary ones; giving us the opportunity to hear Angus tale from birth to finding his own true love while also being given a glimpse of how he is still relevant in the modern world...for Angus, it seems still bestows upon us his precious and wonderful dreams! We find that Angus touches the lives of someone in each little story, and each is compelling and beautiful in its own way. I was particularly amused to see Angus cast as a psychotherapist using lucid dreaming to help his patients...a nice little twist! I would definitely recommend this as a light, but amusing retelling of Angus, Celtic God of Dreams, I don't think you'll be disappointed! I'm certainly glad to have read this and I'm looking forward to seeing more in this series!
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
"Life is but a..."? Aug. 7 2007
By Patricia Tryon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Perhaps you are owed the disclaimer that I will read with pleasure almost anything written by Alexander McCall Smith -- some titles with more pleasure than others, but anything with his name on the cover is practically guaranteed to provide gentle humor, sharp but never acerbic insight about people, and a view into worlds I have not previously been drawn.

"Dream Angus" hits all those marks and one more: it looks at the playful serious curious business of dreams and the purposes to which they might be put.

There are all kinds of serious words that can be delivered about a little book like this and probably there are treatises about whether Smith has written down the "One True Angus" or the one that he has simply invented. But I am not an aficionado of myth. What I recommend with some fervor is this optimistic invitation to open oneself to possibiliities offered by the good, but perhaps unconventional scenarios of our dreams.

Your minister or mother or physician could issue this invitation (or imperative) to you, but it would not be as much fun.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Dream to Read! Oct. 2 2006
By Amy Aldrich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am not all that familiar with Celtic mythology and had actually never heard of Angus (god of dreams and love), so I was a bit worried that some bits of the story would be lost on me...but I need not have worried. Dream Angus is a quite a wonderful retelling of this myth. After doing a bit of research, I find that McCall Smith has kept the bones from source material and dressed them up in contemporary garments and he has, I believe, done it a very likeable and compelling way! Like a couple of others in this series, we are presented with vignettes which weave back and forth between ancient mythological settings and more contemporary ones; giving us the opportunity to hear Angus tale from birth to finding his own true love while also being given a glimpse of how he is still relevant in the modern world...for Angus, it seems still bestows upon us his precious and wonderful dreams! We find that Angus touches the lives of someone in each little story, and each is compelling and beautiful in its own way. I was particularly amused to see Angus cast as a psychotherapist using lucid dreaming to help his patients...a nice little twist! I would definitely recommend this as a light, but amusing retelling of Angus, Celtic God of Dreams, I don't think you'll be disappointed! I'm certainly glad to have read this and I'm looking forward to seeing more in this series!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
ethereal & gorgeous July 6 2007
By Raven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For lovers of Celtic mythology and lore, this is a must read. For dreamers (and who doesn't dream?) ... it's a must read.

Alexander McCall Smith has written a gorgeous retelling of the myth of Angus, interlaced with a series of deeply provocative modern vignettes. I read Dream Angus in one sitting, stunned at the beauty & eloquence of McCall Smith's storytelling. For me, the tales provoked tears of empathy with the human experience. I can see myself giving this slim volume as gifts, many times over. It's a tale to read again and again ... either in its entirety, or by individual chapters.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
What a gift! Dec 16 2006
By Terry Mathews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes, if we're very, very lucky, the universe presents us with gifts. Sometimes, those gifts appear in the form of a great piece of art, a film that touches the soul or a haunting melody still heard long after the turntable stops spinning.

Sometimes, the gift presents itself in the form of the written word. In this age of pulp fiction, it's rare to find a book with magic and stardust on every page. "One Hundred Years of Solitude," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, comes to mind. John Irving's "The World According to Garp" belongs on the list. So does "The Milagro Beanfield War," by John Nichols, and the little-known "Bridge of Birds," by the reclusive Barry Hughart.

"Dream Angus," by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, can take its place among these great works of otherworldly fiction.

"Dream Angus" is a slim, small, 171-page retelling of the life of the Celtic god of dreams. How Smith has woven ancient stories among modern plotlines is nothing short of stunning.

Angus is the love child of Dagda, an all-powerful god, and a beautiful water sprite named Boann.

"Water sprites are gentle; their sons are handsome and have a sense of fun; they sparkle and dart about, just like water," Smith writes.

Angus is an enchanted child. Birds hover around his head. Wild hunting dogs turn into fawning pups in his presence. When he's around, people have vivid dreams and in some cases, their dreams come true.

"In many ways, this was Dagda's greatest achievement, that he gave us this fine boy, who brought dreams to people, and who was loved by birds and people equally and who still is. For Dream Angus comes at night and gives you dreams. You do not see him do this, but you may spot him skipping across the heather, his bag of dreams by his side, and the sight of him, just the sight of him, may be enough to make you fall in love."

At first glance, this book seems deceptively simple. An Introduction and 10 short chapters make the reader think, "This will be quick and pleasant and I can get on about my business."

It takes only four pages or so to realize this trip will not be simple and it will not be short. It will take several readings to peel back all the story's layers. It will take weeks to completely appreciate the beauty of Smith's prose.

Alexander McCall Smith has offered the reading world a peek into a world of myths, magic and mystery. Let's hope his gift is opened, read and treasured by a legion of booklovers for many years to come.

Enjoy!


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