Monday, October 12, 2015

Here Comes the Dreamer

Here Comes the Dreamer by Carole Giangrande
Inanna Publications: 9/15/15
Trade Paperback, 130 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1771332507

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 forgiveness.

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 dismissive.

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 

"Times 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." (pg. 51)

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from TLC for review purposes. 



Carole said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful reading of my book.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Wow, now I'm REALLY excited about this book - it sounds fantastic!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.