Nina George’s incredible new novel, The Book of Dreams, is about the dream world that exists between life and death.
13-year-old Sam sees the world in colours and can sense things most others can’t. He meets his father, Henri, for the first time in hospital. Henri is in a deep coma after being struck by a car. The accident brings him together with Eddie – publisher of fantastical fiction and his father’s former lover. The narrative is told from multiple perspectives. We spend time with Sam, Eddie and Henri as they try to make sense of their situations and bridge the gaps between life and death.
I adored this beautiful book and cried buckets at the ending, which was very satisfying but deeply moving.
The Book of Dreams is peppered with the sort of ‘What if?’s I remember thinking as a kid:
Maybe our lives are nothing but stories that are being read by other people.
I also had a real ‘Oh god is this true? Is this what parenthood does to us?’ moment when I read this passage spoken by 13-year-old Sam:
My mother hasn’t always been like this. There was a time when she worked as a photographer and traveled to war zones. She was afraid of nothing – of nothing and nobody. But then something happened. That thing was me, an accident, and everything changed. Now she sneaks through her own life, as if she’s constantly trying to duck out of harm’s way.
Eddie has run her own successful niche publishing house for decades. I wish she was a real person because I’d love to meet her. She publishes all the sorts of stories that I love reading most:
I publish fantastic novels. Not fantasy: there are no elves, no orcs, no vampires. Utopias and dystopias, stories about alternate realities, other planets, one world where there are no men and another devoid of adults – anything that’s potentially only three steps from our own reality and represents a scientifically plausible form of the miraculous.
This is a story you can completely immerse yourself in. I grew very attached to Eddie and Sam and wanted to reach into the book and look after them both. I was glad they had each other. I was fond of Henri too, though mostly I wanted to give him and Sam’s mother a good shake.
Invested as I was in the narrative, I also found so many small quotes I could sit and think over for hours. Like this one:
We are dwarfed by reality.
This last quote is for all the writers among us. I identified with Sam on this level so much – this is exactly why I write:
I’ve just realized that I really want to be a writer. No, not “want” – must. I don’t have a choice, but only now has that become clear to me. It feels as if it’s the only way to make sense of everything – people, colors, emotions, landscapes, and rooms I can read as if they were books.
Grab a copy from your favourite bookstore or online at:
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links.