Here Comes the Dreamer by Carole Giangrande
Inanna Publications: 9/15/15
Trade Paperback, 130 pages
Here Comes the Dreamer by Carole Giangrande is a very highly recommended, poignant, heartbreaking novella.
The story unfolds through three different narrators. First, house
painter and artist Alastair Luce, who is married to the mercurial and
abusive Nora, worries about his beloved daughter, Grace, and Nora's
treatment of her. We know from the opening that Nora will leave him, in
fact that she already had in every way but officially even before the
incident. The incident is a tragic accident, that taints Alastair's life
and makes it one full of sorrow, depression, disappointments, and
regret, but also, after a season, one of quiet acceptance and
Claire is a teenage neighbor and friend to Grace who accepts a ride from
Alastair and is present when the accident takes place. She has a crush
on him as a teen, but is also friends with Grace, and recognizes the
artistic talent Grace inherited from her father. Claire keeps in touch
with Alastair and, later Grace. Claire is the witness to the
disintegrating family and the one voice that gives the tragedy clarity
and shape. She also has blame unfairly cast in her direction simply
because she was present at the accident. We are witnesses to the
dysfunctional dynamics in Claire's family too, but it is clear that she
was better able to endure it and her parents were never abusive or
The final narrator is Grace, who has inherited her father's love of
color and knows he loves her. At the same time she knows her abusive
mother never loved or tried to understand her. Grace is an adult in her
section, successful in her societal fringe environment and role.
However, she has never come to terms with her mother's rejection and
abuse of her and still blames Claire, the one consistent friend she's
had, for her father's accident.. She has become adept at wounding people
who care with her words to keep them at a distance.
The writing is incredible - Giangrande's ability to capture emotions in a
descriptive way is phenomenal. She also does an excellent job
developing her characters through their own words as well as the
viewpoints of others. Alastair's voice is melancholy, resigned to his
place, forgiving. Claire's voice is a clarion call to pay attention and
not judge too harshly, but look at the circumstances, the facts, the
truth. She is asking for some empathy and understanding. Grace's voice
is full of pain, blame, and self-preservation, with a tint of mental
illness just under the surface - or is it artistic genius? An excellent
book that will make you think.
Here are three quotes I noted as an example of the writing:
"Trouble came to Alastair Luce like a nasty slap of a wave at high tide,
one wave after another. He'd been happy at times, but happiness was a
breaker and it crashed and broke on the hard rock of the unexpected.
Sorrow was no different." opening
were good and one neighbour bought a Chrysler with vast, gull-like
fins. Soon there were more in the neighbourhood, as if the first one had
laid eggs and hatched a flock." (pg. 7)
"For some reasons unknown to me, Betty-Ann [Claire's
sister] was frantic to build a home of human timber, to disassemble her
family limb from limb as if we were there to warm her, nothing more."
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of
this book from TLC for review purposes.
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