The Book of Dreams is a thought-provoking and profound read. It follows four different characters from three different perspectives; Henri, a man who feels he is undeserving of love, who saves a girl from drowning but gets hit by a car and slips into a coma; Sam, his teenage son, who he’s unwillingly never met; Eddie, Henri’s ex-girlfriend and the love of his life; and Madelyn, a twelve-year-old coma patient who we see through the eyes of the other characters.
Though this isn’t classified as magical realism, aspects of it feel very magical realism. The book blurs the line between dream and reality. I won’t explain it any further than that, because I feel it’s best to read this book with fresh eyes.
George explores the cyclicality of life and death, and what it means to straddle the not-so-straight line between the two. She explores love, grief, and regret. Sometimes translations don’t do a book justice, but I found that Simon Pare did a beautiful job. The writing flows really well and George’s descriptions are beautiful and unique.
This is a very character-driven story. It focuses on the experiences, relationships, and emotions of its three main characters as they navigate life around Henri’s coma. I loved all of the characters and was interested in all of their lives.
Another aspect I love about this book is Sam’s synesthesia: he sees color for numbers, emotions, etc. I loved his character and found his synesthesia added a lot of color (ha) to the story, though I felt like it could’ve been cranked up a notch because I found it so fascinating!
I think the ending of this book is polarizing, but I thought the ending worked well for the book as a whole; George even mentions in her afterword that this book was not intended to be “market friendly.” But I found this book deep, moving, and true to itself.
If you’re looking for a beautifully written book that intensely focuses on its characters and explores the boundaries between life and death, then I highly recommend it.
VERDICT: 5 stars