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The House of Discarded Dreams Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books (November 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607012286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607012283
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lyrical writing and rich imagination compensate for loose plotting in this quirky, joyous fantasy. College student Vimbai moves to a house on the New Jersey shore to escape her bickering parents. Her housemates are a bit unusual: Maya is being followed by a pack of mystical animals, and Felix has a black hole sitting on his head. As the house drifts out to sea, Vimbai's grandmother's ghost starts doing housework and giving advice. Felix draws a "Psychic Energy Baby" out of the phone lines, and the house expands to include forests and lakes. Vimbai's biggest concern is whether missing classes will affect her application to grad school. Somehow, the overall effect is dreamily compelling rather than farcical, as Sedia (The Secret History of Moscow) shows how competing natural and supernatural worldviews can enrich each other.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Vimbai, who studies invertebrate zoology because of a fascination with horseshoe crabs, moves into the house on the beach in order to escape her Zimbabwean immigrant mother’s intensity; she finds something strange and beautiful. There are two roommates: Zach, who has a pocket universe where his hair should be, and Maya, who works in an Atlantic City casino. Vimbai’s dead grandmother haunts them, a ghostly presence who tells Zimbabwean children’s stories and does the dishes. When the house comes unmoored and drifts away to sea, Vimbai must bargain with ghostly horseshoe crabs, untangle the many and varied stories that have come loose in the vast worlds of the house, and find a way home. From Maya’s urban nightmares to Vimbai’s African urban legends, the house is filled with danger and beauty and unexpected magic. On one level, this is a reflection of ancient fairy tales and legends; on the other, it’s a perfectly straightforward tale of finding oneself in a bizarre world. Either way, Sedia’s prose is a pleasure, her story a lovely place to have spent time, even with the horrors her characters face. --Regina Schroeder

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
I read little fantasy so picking up this one was an interesting experience for me.
Lucas
Though, credit where it is due, Vimbai does freak out a little before she shrugs the whole thing off as if it was nothing special.
James Oliver
Fortunately I completely forgot about that minor hiccup in my fascination with the characters.
E. Ambrose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Oliver on January 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Going in to the the novel, I did not know what to expect. There was no foundation of prior reading experience for it to fall upon, just a clean slate that it could just as easily slip away from. Or, it could remain firm as a beginning foundation for later works. I had high hopes that it would be the latter, that I would enjoy the novel. All of this almost came crashing down in the first twenty pages, when I found the prose grating and difficult to read for any sustained amount of time. I was tempted to put the book down then, but for whatever reason, perhaps a bit of tolerance that I lacked in the past year, kept me reading.

Eventually everything snapped into place. The once jarring prose that threatened to eject me from the book every few sentences suddenly blossomed into a flowing prose that lured me in and propelled me through the book. The imagery of it drew beautiful dream vistas, impossible landscapes tucked away inside a small beach house free floating somewhere in the ocean, and the chaotic blend of modern and ageless in stories told to calm a psychic energy baby festooned with amputated phantom limbs. The story is slow to unfold, taking its time to reveal to the characters that this house filled with their discarded dreams is not as benign as they assume, but the pace is comfortable and works well. On a negative level, the dialogue came across as stilted at times and this clashed with the flow of the narrative enough that it threw me from the story on more than one occasion.

Vimbai and her roommates, Maya and Felix, are the central characters in the novel, but they are part of an extended cast that is as diverse as it is strange.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Ambrose on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I don't really have any cute stories about why I picked The House of Discarded Dreams up besides a recommendation from a friend. I have noticed that my friends seem to have remarkably good taste in books across the board and happily I found that to be the case yet again.

So, the story starts with Vimbai moving out of her parent's house and into the House in the Dunes with Maya and Felix. Unfortunately, the house goes out with the tide and begins to become bigger on the inside. The house begins to fill up with more creatures than what were there to start with and things become slightly creepy.

I have exactly one gripe. Sometimes the prose seemed emotionally removed from the characters. This did clear up as the book progressed (which leads me to think that it's being used to reflect Vimbai's emotional investment in the people around her), but sometimes it was a little off putting.

Fortunately I completely forgot about that minor hiccup in my fascination with the characters. Vimbai's perception of her relationship with her family (and other people) and how it changes over the course of exploring the new landscapes within the house. Each new space within the house and how it carried some special significance to each character seemed like an interesting reversal of the "house that destroys" trope one frequently sees in horror. I would go so far as to say that some parts of the house illustrate the home as a place of slow stagnation, especially those places with the catfish. I did like how this seemed to function as an allegory for Vimbai's relationship with her mother. I loved how well and how thoroughly her character had been thought out with regards to her relationship with her family, her ancestry, random classmates and her housemates.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Jessup on February 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Really great book, probably my favorite Sedia book to date. It's definitely not your run of the mill fantasy novel, no, not at all. It's more like Little, Big, except it deals with so many more interesting, strange stuff. The imagination on display is fantastic! Afterwards your head will be spinning for days. Even though the story is weird and dreamlike, it's heavily grounded in fantastic characters that will live in your head for days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jed on February 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was wonderful. Sedia seems to have thoroughly researched so many components of this story, including culture, mythology and of course the science behind all of it. It was very enjoyable to read, hard to put down, completely original and imaginative. In addition, it caused me to question several concepts and ideas that I felt I knew where I stood with respect to, and now I'm still thinking about at this point. I ran out and bought another book by her; "The Secret History of Moscow". I highly recommend this author.
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