After great struggle with long holds and indifference, we managed to get our router replaced. The wi-fi signal is now stronger than one bar and the replacement is meant to handle several wireless devices, which means the router isn’t overwhelmed and shutting down the connection every few minutes. I can watch anime again. I can stream music. I can stay connected longer than a minute at a time! I’d cheer, but I’m not into that sort of thing.
My craptastic internet connection played a large role in finishing These Dreams of You last night, in finishing it so quickly. There’s not much distraction to be found when your connection lasts only a matter of minutes before disappearing into the aether. The book ushers things along, too. It is easy to get trapped reading the book, breezing from one short passage to the next as the book flows through time and around the world. Variations of just one more flashed through my head countless times–just one more passage and I’ll do something else for a while; just this last passage because it is short; I should really read this one to finish off this page. On and on and on.
Erickson has written a rambling narrative that is just so many things. It is steeped in politics and pop culture, both often referenced in vague terms that might confuse people who can’t take a hint or don’t know a damn thing about history. There is a strong element of personal responsibility and ethics, which seems almost a joke at first before it spirals off to play a serious role in almost every part of the novel. Ultimately, it is a story of a girl and her family, both the one that has adopted her and the family that would eventually bring her into the world. It sprawls, across time, around the world, through fiction and back to the reality.
These Dreams of You is a joy to read even if, as I said before, the tension is hellish. I may not have lived through ’68, but I was here in ’08 and old enough to have felt the hope that came with our new president (a hope that, sadly, blossomed into cynicism) and the dread of recession. And in that latter regard the book does not hold back; it hits hard and fast and is relentless. The life our characters lead is an everyday, prolonged hell in which everything might be taken from them at any moment and the novel sets out see that through to fruition.
I’m glad to have read it.
Apparently, I chose the one book that isn’t representative of the bulk of Erickson’s work and is the lesser of the lot. Well, according to some random reviews, that is. I’ve nothing to compare it to. I am not disappointed though. Erickson is a damn good writer. If this is his lesser work, then I look forward to reading the rest.