Steve Erickson's ninth novel, These Dreams of You, traces the travails of a contemporary American family following their adoption of an Ethiopian child, 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 wing-nuts fulminating over this book, for the manner in which it weaves a counterpoint of interconnected fictions, of fictions within fictions in which life and art intersect in ways that could only occur in a culture where magical thinking supplants realism. 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.
I've followed Steve Erickson's work for the past fifteen years, missing only his first novel, Tours of the Black Clock, and Amnesiascape, and this is the best of the lot.
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