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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Dreams of Sleep (Contemporary American Fiction) Paperback – May 7, 1985

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An extraordinarily accomplished first novel. -- Ellen Douglas, The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Josephine Humphreys is the author of Dreams of Sleep, which won the 1985 Hemingway Foundation Award for a first work of fiction; of Rich in Love, made into a major motion picture; and of The Fireman's Fair (all available from Penguin).
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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 7, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140077871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140077872
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,559,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Darby McGill on December 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
i loved this book, especially the characterization of Alice. She's a woman who goes by omens, including what's carved by strangers' fingernails on a frozen package of chicken. Humphreys makes each of the three characters a star for one chapter, so you can really get inside their heads and receive information that the other characters don't know. It's about hope and despair and human relationships, the darkness of marriage and the light at the end of it. i like how Alice smokes just as it gets dark, when she feels the most despair.
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Does she tell him she knows?

Alice is a wife who struggles with a secret- that she knows her husband has been having an affair with his secretary. Her knowledge has led her to spy on her at his office, stake out her house, and buy dressy clothes to wear around her. She obsesses about her own inadequacies, and her helplessness in the situation. Her husband seems a million miles away, and she knows her marriage is in trouble.

Will is dealing with two women he just can’t reach. He feels like something is wrong with Alice, and while he does what he can, he can’t help Claire with her problems. Once, he was deeply in love with Alice. He and Claire used to leave love letters for each other at the office, but the last one he left was never even opened. He may be a gynecologist, but he doesn't know a thing about women.

Iris Moon comes into Alice and Will’s lives as a babysitter, and is a breath of fresh air for the broken family. Although she is poor she is rich in wisdom and helps Alice become more confident and grounded. Iris has grown up in a different world, one based less on happiness and more on just surviving. She shines light upon all those around her, and embodies her name.

This book is well written but I had difficulty liking some of the characters. Alice’s discipline of the children at times is horrifying. As for Will? He could have been a little more discreet with his affair. Iris is the saving grace of the story, and her goodness helps to counter the shortcomings of others.

If you like to read stories set in Charleston, or books that deal with the ebb and flow of marital relationships, you will like this book. Josephine Humphreys is a talented writer, and this is a solid debut novel.
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Format: Paperback
This was Humphreys's first book, and I still think it's her best. Alice and Will, after ten years, are finding their marriage on the rocks. Humphreys offer an extremely insightful dissection of this marriage, its possitives and negatives, and what makes these two characters tick. The writing is strong and assured, and I thought her exploration was interesting from cover to cover.
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