Reality and Dreams,
Dame Muriel Spark's twentieth novel, is a masterpiece of restraint. It's a slender book, but such is Spark's skill that the superbly entertaining work conjures wholly the world of its characters with all the clarity and power imaginable from a book of any length. The story casts a famous English film director Tom Richards, his wife Claire, their beautiful daughter Cora and their unbeautiful daughter Marigold, a couple of sons-in-law, friends, et al, in an intelligent, sometimes brutally honest comedy of manners that swirls around Tom's movie projects, everyone's marital infidelities, the growing problem of "redundancy" in the workplace, and the slippery difference between art and life.
From Library Journal
This work is vintage Spark, and to those familiar with this prolific and much-honored author, perhaps that is all that need be said. With the succinctness, clarity, and wit that has long marked her style, she explores the often shadowlike relationship between real life and the creative process. A glimpse of a girl selling hamburgers at a French campground ignites film director Tom Richard's imagination, and around it he builds his latest movie. When the film is still in production, he suffers a serious accident and awakens to find his vision being threatened as others try to take over the story. He also awakens to disruptions in his "real" life?many of those around him are losing their jobs, his daughters' marriages are in the process of breaking up, and long held resentments/ jealousies, both personal and professional, are coming to the surface. The result is a sexual and economic whirlwind that eventually leads to violence?and another film. For the creative artist, everything "in our world...[may] start from a dream," but dreams also start from reality. It is this paradox and its attendant parallels that Spark exposes so astutely and entertainingly in this highly recommended work.-?David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersberg, Fla.
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