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Dream Angus(CD)Lib(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
Angus is a god of dreams and love, and the Celtic mythology spun around his life and acts is cherished in both Ireland and Scotland. Clearly aware of the ramifications of taking sides, Page delivers his narration in a studiously neutral British voice. However, it is no surprise that the Scottish Smith, who currently writes two Edinburgh-based series, sets the five contemporary stories that parallel Angus's life in Scotland. For these sections, Page rolls out a hearty Scottish brogue and performs the characters in a lively fashion. Page is less successful with the narrative voice itself. The story is told from the perspective of Angus's mother, Boann, a water nymph. The peacefulness and sweetness of mother and son, combined with Page dropping his voice for the end of each sentence, might lull the listener into the dream state so favored by Angus. Nevertheless, this is one audio the entire family can listen to: it's perfect for a long winter evening by the fire with some hot cocoa. Simultaneous release with the Canongate hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 21).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"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.
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.
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.
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