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These Dreams of You Paperback – January 31, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 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

Review

“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"Erickson expertly weaves together themes of music, politics, and idealism in a modern story where preconceptions are outdated."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: #370,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
steve erickson is one of my favorite authors; erratic, but always worth reading. (erratic that, in trying to re-read "tours of the black clock", i now find that one unreadable).
but, 'ecstatic days', 'zeroville' etc...are all essential reads.

i JUST finished this new book; surprisingly linear at first, until it expands into poetry and magic (as do most of his novels). there are amazing connections made (or, in the context of the story), nearly made. the writing is strong, musical, visual.

the story is wonderful.

i loved this, and now, sadly, will have a long wait until the next erickson novel.

READ IT.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I stumbled across "The Sea Comes in at Midnight" by Steve Erickson a couple years ago and fell in love with his writing. I now own every book this prolific writer has written to date. Erickson bends time in a fascinating way, letting it curve back upon itself and then flow forward, and when his characters reappear in other books they present new aspects of themselves that keep on surprising you. One book that stands alone and is an excellent intro to his work is "Tours of the Black Clock". If you like writing of the mind-bending variety, you may just find yourself very pleased to meet him.
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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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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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