- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: Inanna Poetry and Fiction Series; 1st Edition edition (Aug. 31 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1771332506
- ISBN-13: 978-1771332507
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,771,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Here Comes the Dreamer Paperback – Aug 31 2015
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"Here Comes the Dreamer is a moving account of how a tragic accident changes, and haunts, the intertwined lives of a painter, his gifted and troubled daughter, and the young woman who befriends them. It astutely probes the moods and mores of suburban America in the '50s and '60s, and later, of Toronto. Combining rich lyrical language, inspired narration, and sensitive psychological insight, this is fiction of the most darkly illuminating, deeply touching kind."--Allan Briesmaster"Giangrande's writing is warm and intelligent, honest and kind. Here Comes the Dreamer is filled with the richness of character and intersecting lives."--Irene Guilford, author of The Embrace
About the Author
Born and raised in the New York City area, Carole Giangrande now resides in Toronto. Her novella, A Gardener On The Moon, was co-winner of the 2010 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest. She is the author of two novels, An Ordinary Star (2004) and A Forest Burning (2000) and a short story collection, Missing Persons (1994), as well as two non-fiction books: Down To Earth: The Crisis in Canadian Farming (1985) and The Nuclear North: The People, The Regions and the Arms Race (1983). Her most recent novella, Midsummer, was published to literary acclaim in 2014. She's worked as a broadcast journalist for cbc Radio, and her fiction, articles and reviews have appeared in literary journals and in Canada's major newspapers. While revising new work, she now comments as The Thoughtful Blogger (a space for interesting books and intermittent reflection), available through her website at http://www.carolegiangrande.com.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story unfolds through three different narrators. First, house painter and artist Alastair Luce, who is married to the mercurial and abusive Nora, worries about his beloved daughter, Grace, and Nora's treatment of her. We know from the opening that Nora will leave him, in fact that she already had in every way but officially even before the incident. The incident is a tragic accident, that taints Alastair's life and makes it one full of sorrow, depression, disappointments, and regret, but also, after a season, one of quiet acceptance and forgiveness.
Claire is a teenage neighbor and friend to Grace who accepts a ride from Alastair and is present when the accident takes place. She has a crush on him as a teen, but is also friends with Grace, and recognizes the artistic talent Grace inherited from her father. Claire keeps in touch with Alastair and, later Grace. Claire is the witness to the disintegrating family and the one voice that gives the tragedy clarity and shape. She also has blame unfairly cast in her direction simply because she was present at the accident. We are witnesses to the dysfunctional dynamics in Claire's family too, but it is clear that she was better able to endure it and her parents were never abusive or dismissive.
The final narrator is Grace, who has inherited her father's love of color and knows he loves her. At the same time she knows her abusive mother never loved or tried to understand her. Grace is an adult in her section, successful in her societal fringe environment and role. However, she has never come to terms with her mother's rejection and abuse of her and still blames Claire, the one consistent friend she's had, for her father's accident.. She has become adept at wounding people who care with her words to keep them at a distance.
The writing is incredible - Giangrande's ability to capture emotions in a descriptive way is phenomenal. She also does an excellent job developing her characters through their own words as well as the viewpoints of others. Alastair's voice is melancholy, resigned to his place, forgiving. Claire's voice is a clarion call to pay attention and not judge too harshly, but look at the circumstances, the facts, the truth. She is asking for some empathy and understanding. Grace's voice is full of pain, blame, and self-preservation, with a tint of mental illness just under the surface - or is it artistic genius? An excellent book that will make you think.
Here are three quotes I noted as an example of the writing:
"Trouble came to Alastair Luce like a nasty slap of a wave at high tide, one wave after another. He'd been happy at times, but happiness was a breaker and it crashed and broke on the hard rock of the unexpected. Sorrow was no different." opening
"Times were good and one neighbour bought a Chrysler with vast, gull-like fins. Soon there were more in the neighbourhood, as if the first one had laid eggs and hatched a flock." (pg. 7)
"For some reasons unknown to me, Betty-Ann [Claire's sister] was frantic to build a home of human timber, to disassemble her family limb from limb as if we were there to warm her, nothing more." (pg. 51)
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from TLC for review purposes.
“Times were good and one neighbour bought a Chrysler with vast, gull-like fins. Soon there were more in the neighbourhood, as if the first one had laid eggs and hatched a flock.”
“He took her in his arms and held her with care, as you might hold silence.”
“With Betty-Ann, it always happened that her soul would sizzle and fry on a burner of pain and disappointment, then flip right over into a heaping mess of sarcasm and cruelty. Betty-Ann could never just be sad.”
“There was an odd translucence about her as if she were made of light-enhancing substances; silks, opals, rain. I felt as if she were a curtain and that if I were to draw her open, I’d float through her and into the sky.”
“She took the ring and held it, feeling in its slight form the endless circle of lost generations and forgotten hopes. He’d carried inside of him the chill hardness of the boreal forest, more pain than anyone could bear. She remembered his unheeded books and the eerie light of his paintings. More sorrowful than either of these was the friendship she’d hungered for, the price that Alastair had paid for it. What grave things their dreams had been.”
This book may be short in length, yet it required considerable thought and mental energy to process and digest. The wording was poetic, beautiful, and ethereal; while the writing was often melancholy in mood as well complex and multi-layered. The story was highly textured with complicated and highly descriptive sentences that caused me to feel somewhat unworthy and limited in my ability to fully comprehend what was truly meant, as if it was near my fingertips yet just out of reach.
Told from three different points of view, the emotions were always close and simmering, and spiraled into bitterness, regret, resentment, anger, and despondency. After I finished the story and before I could write my review, I felt the need to push back from it and gather my thoughts. I took a long hot soak with a glass of wine and as I thought about poor Alastair, I began to weep. Did he and his ancestors before him actually have precognition or the “knack for extraordinary visions;” or was it mental illness? I concluded he suffered from both, as well as a lifetime of disappointments and a repeatedly battered heart.
The other thing I liked about this is that the story is told through three narrators, all unreliable. This adds depth of perspective and I found myself liking seemingly unlikable characters. This is really well done and I find somewhat difficult for authors to convince the reader to like such characters. Overall, an almost flawless creation that really stuck with me. I look forward to reading more from Carole Giangrande.
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