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4.4 out of 5 stars11
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on January 13, 2000
I've read Machine Dreams twice and I was completly moved. It is like a picture of modern America where everyone travels alone, like in a dream, and the same time is in the middle of a crowd into reality. Philip's talended writing expresses desires and feelings of every woman and their struggle to remain unique. But it is not a feminist book. male characters are very strong too. Its structure and the different narrator in each chapter show the different kind of characters and the different aspects of the American society
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on December 4, 1999
I had to read Machine Dreams as part of a school course at University at first it appeared to be nothing special, who were all these characters, did I care waht this woman, was telling her daughter and who were they anyway? I read the first section, then put it away for a while. When I started to read it again it was sooo good. It does take a while to get into but it is well worth percivering. At the end of the book I was so caugh t up with the up with the characters it was unbelivable considering my initial reaction to the book. The links in the book become obvious as you read on and the treatment of time as none linear works well. There are central themes in the book, such as the strenght of the women characters and the way in which they deal with the things that happen. I was told the book was about the Vietmnam war but I don't personnaly think that this was the main point of the book, it is a key factor but how could it not be. After reading the book I was left feeling very aware of the feeling I have for my friends and family, it is difficult not to become emotionally involved in the book. Finally - GO READ IT! (And don't give up on it.) I only gave the book 4 stars because of my initial desire not to read it after the first section - This is probably more my problem than the books.
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on November 15, 1998
Jane Anne Phillips' 1984 first novel Machine Dreams is an affecting and carefully-wrought chronicle of an American family through this century, culminating in the tragedy of Vietnam brought home through a beloved son's/brother's death. Phillips constructs the novel by focusing each section on a different family member, alternating also between first and third person narrators. Her use of language and characterizations are strong throughout. This is a fine book.
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on March 28, 2000
I love this book because even now, years after the first time I read it, I remember the characters so well. It's like they were members of my own family. Jayne Anne Phillips writes beautifully of a time (1950s-60s) and a place (West Virginia) and a family. The book reminds me of growing up in a house where we were all in our own orbits, doing our own things, living our own lives, and experiencing our own pain. Sad, but true.
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on July 17, 2009
This novel, told from multiple perspectives, explores the meaning of two wars (World War II and Vietnam) as seen by two generations. Phillips writes masterfully about coming of age, sexuality, family, gender, and class. A work of impressive depth. Highly recommended.
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on May 20, 2013
Phillips delves into the lives of ordinary people focusing on women and their role in the family and society during various times in our history. She shows us through her characters how attitudes have changed from the depression times to the time of the Vietnam War. The story takes place in small town Midwestern America where set opinions are ever so engraved in the minds of its inhabitants.
Those women who did dare to change or "go against the grain" could be called true pioneer women and should be applauded for their courage as much as any war veteran. Thought provoking.
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on December 9, 2012
Machine Dreams was a good read. I personally liked the characters and the developments for one to the next. I wish Billy would have been in the book more. Fore me it didn't get super duper interesting until about 60% on my kindle when Danner was turning 16. I liked the setting and the description of the era, especially the town and the cars. The only reason it doesn't get a five is because it was really, really slow for me in some parts.
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on August 23, 2013
Beautiful prose. Exquisite characterization. Jayne Anne Phillips has written a haunting, memorable novel of a family you come to care for very deeply.
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on January 27, 2016
I loved this book and the way Jayne Anne Phillips writes.
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on November 6, 2008
I was surprised I had never heard of this book before and I was excited to read it. It was interesting. It started out great, dragged in the middle, and then picked up thankfully toward the end.
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