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A Child's Night Dream Hardcover – October 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312167989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312167981
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,526,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Anyone who is a fan of Oliver Stone's films already knows the role Vietnam has played in both his personal and public lives. He's made three films about the war and its aftermath: Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Heaven and Earth; now he has also penned a novel that skirts the borders of autobiography--the hero, after all, is called Oliver. The novel grew out of three major experiences in young Oliver's life: his time as a civilian teacher in a Saigon Catholic school, his return to America aboard a merchant marine ship, and his eventual return to Vietnam as a soldier.

Stone originally wrote this novel in 1966 at the age of 19. In a fit of frustration and despair after numerous rejections from publishers, Stone "threw several sections of the manuscript into the East River one cold night, and, as if surgically removing the memory of the book from my mind, volunteered for the Vietnam of 1967." For many years, the remaining sections of the manuscript lay forgotten in a shoebox, until eventually Stone recovered them, rewrote the novel, and published it this year.

From Library Journal

Imagine a Sixties Holden Caulfield, with nothing to read but Kerouac and Burroughs, dropping out of Yale and into Vietnam, then returning home via a Conradian cargo ship. On film, this famous director's (JFK, The Doors) thudding, often hogwash ideas are forcefully elevated by a blunt, visceral energy. On paper, this debut novel is mostly the hogwash. Logy, derivative, and pretentious, it's a young man's scattershot work?Stone wrote it in 1966-67, then stored it until now in a shoe box, where it could have stayed. Once again, what's good therapy can make bad literature. Not recommended.
-?David Bartholomew, NYPL
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cunningham on September 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is underrated and underappreciated. It's quality is uneven and inconsistent, but I think worth reading for the good parts. It is pretty clear that Vietnam represents an overwhelming catharsis or abreaction for his character, even to the point of a certain amount of mythologizing. For any reader not expecting a large dose, be prepared. Overall, this novel deserves merit for not keeping to the beaten path.

In the book Stone differentiates between Imagination & Creativity. I argue that a worthy critic needs at least Imagination but an artist needs Creativity, and a quality artist needs both.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kristy Dark on October 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
_________________________________________________________________
They say if you stare into a mirror long enough, you'll see the face of your own mother or father. But what if you saw Mother/Father/eagles in Mexican mountains/Godeath with sun in your eyes/"Ghost of a panther's soul"?
A CHILD'S NIGHT DREAM is the first novel written by celebrated screenwriter/director/producer Oliver Stone, winner of three Oscars (for the screenplay of MIDNIGHT EXPRESS and as director of PLATOON and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY), and whose films have earned 37 Academy Award nominations. First embarked on when Stone was 19, the novel lay becalmed inside a shoebox for 30 years until Stone took a deep breath and set sail once more. Graciously, he's invited us along as fellow voyagers, or voyeurs.
A CHILD'S NIGHT DREAM is the autobiographical/fictional story of young William Oliver Stone, whose neglectful haut monde mother made him a haunting promise one night long ago. A promise Stone must prove or dispel or run from or embed like a Cambodian dagger in his own flesh.
Torn between his estranged parents, Stone lives in two worlds. The world of "Oliver" is warm, carnal. Lust replaces love, and his mother has the "...face of a growling meateater. Wolfess." The world of "William" is cold, rigid, rigor mortis. Money replaces love, and his father unerringly hammers a stake through his son's heart, "You can't be an individual in this world..."
Rejecting both worlds, Stone volunteers for combat in Vietnam and enters the Inferno. Raw, visceral, shot through wih madness, it's a microcosmic version of the film PLATOON, with fascinating additions -- the ghosts of French soldiers, Indians taking scalps, and Stone experiencing his own death.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's hard to believe that a 20 yr old wrote this book. Stone is obviously talented but in such a way that it's difficult to relate to his wandering prose and stacatto syntax.
I LOVED parts of the book but was bored senseless with the metaphors riddled throughout. There must be a thousand "it was like..." sentences in the book and he probably had a giant thesauraus (or great imagination!) to assist with the words.
Some memorable quotes made this well worth reading and when he relaxed his tortured style, it was an intriguing read.
It's a book that you'll struggle with but you'll miss it when you've finished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Roark on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent!!! A fantastic insight into the mind of a troubled youth. Oliver Stone, the director of JFK, WORLD TRADE CENTER, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, U-TURN, NIXON, WALL STREET, ALEXANDER, ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, THE DOORS, HEAVEN & EARTH, W., BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY, SALVADOR, TALK RADIO, WALL STREET MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, SAVAGES, and most importantly in reference to this book, PLATOON. Following Stone as the books protagonist, he hastily drops out of YALE and enlists as an infantryman in Vietnam. Stone covers the first time he killed someone and how he felt about it during and afterwards. He also covers his excessive drug usage of LSD (and slipping some in his father's drink at a dinner party) and marijuana. You will read what it was really like in Vietnam, his hard nosed, straight edged, strict upbringing by his father. His mother's sexual ventures that were paraded in front of Oliver. Nude parties, rape, combat, drugs, suffering, confusion of a young man, finding one's self, and more are all here. This is a compelling read, with a unique writing style, Oliver Stone churns out a classic!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "webwords2" on April 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
They say if you stare into a mirror long enough, you'll see the face of your own mother or father. But what if you saw Mother/Father/eagles in Mexican mountains/Godeath with sun in your eyes/"Ghost of a panther's soul"?
A CHILD'S NIGHT DREAM is the first novel written by celebrated screenwriter/director/producer Oliver Stone, winner of three Oscars (for the screenplay of MIDNIGHT EXPRESS and as director of PLATOON and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY), and whose films have earned 37 Academy Award nominations. First embarked on when Stone was 19, the novel lay becalmed inside a shoebox for 30 years until Stone took a deep breath and set sail once more. Graciously, he's invited us along as fellow voyagers, or voyeurs.
A CHILD'S NIGHT DREAM is the autobiographical/fictional story of young William Oliver Stone, whose neglectful haut monde mother made him a haunting promise one night long ago. A promise Stone must prove or dispel or run from or embed like a Cambodian dagger in his own flesh.
Torn between his estranged parents, Stone lives in two worlds. The world of "Oliver" is warm, carnal. Lust replaces love, and his mother has the "...face of a growling meateater. Wolfess." The world of "William" is cold, rigid, rigor mortis. Money replaces love, and his father unerringly hammers a stake through his son's heart, "You can't be an individual in this world..."
Rejecting both worlds, Stone volunteers for combat in Vietnam and enters the Inferno. Raw, visceral, shot through wih madness, it's a microcosmic version of the film PLATOON, with fascinating additions -- the ghosts of French soldiers, Indians taking scalps, and Stone experiencing his own death.
Read more ›
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