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These Dreams of You Paperback – January 31, 2012

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

These Dreams of You pushes against the idea of the novel as a stagnated medium by flexing its own vitality. While Erickson is superb at striking emotional notes, conjuring up historical figures, and ruminating on race and identity, he's also content to mess around and dabble in the absurd. —Christopher Byrd


“Drama filled with exuberance…the story is wild enough to do justice to the paradoxes and swings of our ‘democrazy’…Erickson’s jagged, jazzy voice is his own.” -The Washington Post

"Beautiful, elegiac...threads and characters serendipitously stumble through a missing-link chain of coincidences, with mazes and labyrinths both real and imagined...a complex and imaginative literary tapestry about family and identity." -Kirkus (starred review)

"Erickson expertly weaves together themes of music, politics, and idealism in a modern story where preconceptions are outdated." -Publishers Weekly

"Hypnotic...powerful...makes us wonder and cheer enthusiastically about the strange and more than coincidental thing we call life itself.”
All Things Considered, NPR

"Actions echo across time, continents and realities…a series of endless, astounding tessellations. The four Nordhocs who provide the messy, vibrant heart of These Dreams of You make up a representative tableau for the new millennium: the American family as mash-up." -The New York Times Book Review

“Truly electrifying. In its gorgeous, vivid prose and its acutely sensitive soul, These Dreams of You shows us just what a novel can still do in our own crazy times." -The Boston Globe

"Magnificent. These Dreams of You is a big novel of big ideas -- emotionally capacious and desperately relevant. As readers rush headlong toward its climax, they may feel as if they have emerged from something like a fever dream, as torrents of ideas and images wash over them." -New York Journal of Books

"These Dreams of You may well be today's Great American Novel...[the] final, choking passage belongs in the same league as the conclusions of The Great Gatsby, On the Road and Vineland." -Los Angeles Review of Books

"Deftly weaves a larger tale that reaches back to the nineteen-sixties and an earlier, equally transformative presidential candidacy...Erickson’s skillful use of metafictional techniques, coincidences, and resonances expands the story into an absorbing meditation on narrative itself." - The New Yorker

"Erickson grasps the intimate and esoteric ways that the forces of society mold us, and this is an undeniably brave book. [In] the book's rapturous final paragraphs Erickson stares into the heart of America's pain and potential and doesn't blink.” - Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 Original edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450632
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Erickson is the author of nine novels including 2012's THESE DREAMS OF YOU and two nonfiction works. His books have appeared on best-of-the-year lists in Newsweek, the Washington Post BookWorld, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice and the New York Times Book Review. He is the editor of the literary journal Black Clock, published by the California Institute of the Arts, and he teaches writing at the University of California Riverside; he also writes about film for Los Angeles magazine. He has received the American Academy of Arts and Letters' award in literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JJohnston on March 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fell in love with the characters in Steve Erickson's "These Dreams of You"! Even though Zan, Viv, Parker & Sheba end up on the strangest of journeys, they still represent an All-American family -- one that struggles to take care of each other physically and emotionally and to create a unique family identity and history. The author absolutely captures how completely the love you feel as a parent takes over your life -- how desperate, overwhelming, and beautiful that is.

Erickson performs literary yoga here, brilliantly bending the narrative through our nation's recent past utilizing social, political and musical references. The masterful writing skills are evident, but they don't overpower the compelling characters and story here. You're pulling for all of them through the last page.

One of the ways I know that I know I loved a book, not just liked it, is that I want to keep it in my library to come back and read again. "These Dreams of You" is now part of my permanent collection.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Chambers on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Steve Erickson's ninth novel, These Dreams of You follows the travails of an American family in contemporary America following their adoption of an Ethiopian child, and their struggle to keep themselves housed and fed, when both partners are unemployed, and their quest for the child's birth mother. Beginning with the election of Barrack Obama, it asks the question of what our concept of America is, and what must be done to heal the lesions in the body politic inflicted by slavery and segregation. It resolves itself in a situation all too many people today find themselves in, leaving the reader to wonder in the end if we must destroy ourselves in order to realize our highest ideals.

One can imagine the Literalists fumigating over this book, for the way it weaves a counterpoint of interconnected fictions, of fictions within fictions in which life intersects with art and art intersects with life, that could only occur in a world in which policy based on magical thinking supplants policy based on realism, and in which the literalists, generally support the policies of magical thinking. It's an extremely witty book in that way, even though it doesn't seem to be intended as satire. It is an altogether fascinating read, delivered in chapters of less than a page, but easily digested of a lazy Sunday afternoon. It is best to read it in its entirety to get the full flavor of it.

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Surfer Girl on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
These Dreams of You is extraordinary moving and rich with big ideas. It's an LA story, an American story, a story for our times. I couldn't put it down, and I stayed up way too late reading until the last astounding and heroic paragraph. These Dreams of You is the writing of a lifetime. If you're a fan of Erickson's previous novels, you'll be thrilled with this latest book. If you're a new reader, you've just discovered an incredible gem: Erickson's story lines span continents and decades, his observations make you feel as if you're eavesdropping, and his prose is a joy to get lost in. This is no less than a Great American Novel. I loved it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Wheeler VINE VOICE on September 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I discovered Erickson's first two novels -- Days Between Stations and Rubicon Beach, both mid-'80s Vintage Contemporaries, with that over-designed look that signaled Smart and Literate to so many of us in those days -- as remainders not too long after publication, right next to each other on a table in a mall bookstore that's probably been gone for two decades. And they were just the beginning of a long, strange career, through six more novels and two non-fiction books (though one of those involved traveling the US, during an election year, with the ghost of Sally Hemmings, and the other was a similarly phantasmagorical story of another election year -- Erickson is as fearless when he tells the truth as when he tells stories) over the next two and a half decades.

Erickson could be the American J.G. Ballard -- his obsessions and imagery is different, but he's equally captured by his own imagination and driven to write surrealistic, fantasy-tinged versions of his homeland to work out the differences between how the world does work and how it should work. All of his books have unlikely and fantastic elements -- near-future dystopia, the career of Hitler's private pornographer, a hero who only parrots back the last opinion he's heard, lakes suddenly appearing in downtown Los Angeles -- and a sense of America as a land of myth and possibility. (Not a perfect land by any means, but a land containing wonders and vastness.)

THESE DREAMS OF YOU extends Erickson's world further, having perhaps the least focus on his homeland of any of his novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lindsey Ann McCann on August 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a wonderful feeling when a book makes you swoon and jump for joy. Not only that, I jumped from my bed and slammed my face into the pillow when I finished "These Dreams of You".

From the very beginning I was invested in discovering the fate of Zan and his family. Plagued by financial troubles in a country steeped in recession, along with the racial implications of a white family adopting an Ethiopian child told from the perspective of a generation that lived through a country's history of political and social race relations, one could not help but sympathize with Zan as he puts his head in his hands at the announcement of his country's first black president. With complete honesty and an air of self deprecating humor, Zan reveals how we may be flawed as individuals, but our love for something greater than ourselves can propel us into change. Riddled with the simplest of details here and there, true to experience, Steve Erickson nicely ties the loops throughout to keep you wanting more, saving the very best to the very very end.

I normally buy a book like this in print so that I can feel the pages in my hands and find the perfect bookmark to personalize the experience. Since I was about to embark on my own adventure, I purchased the kindle version for lighter packing. This led to an even more commiserate experience. Steve Erickson's compact chapter break style had me saying, "Oh, just one more," over and over again when I read "Zeroville" in print. But without the luxury of being able to skip so easily ahead on the kindle, I found myself agonizing right along with the characters wondering what could possibly be next.

I would certainly recommend purchasing "These Dreams of You" for your kindle, though I'm so intrigued by this experience that I will be purchasing the paperback as well.

It was fun, thanks.
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