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Reality and Dreams by Muriel Spark
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Reality and Dreams (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Muriel Spark

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123597,888 (3.17)11
Member:annesadleir
Title:Reality and Dreams
Authors:Muriel Spark
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1997), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library, Read2012
Rating:****
Tags:Nov2012

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Reality and Dreams by Muriel Spark (1996)

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Sometimes you read a book in which there are many, many bad things, but one or two great things make up for it. Sometimes you read a book with which there isn't much wrong, but also nothing really right. 'Reality and Dreams' is like the latter. The characters are interesting. Something seems to be being said. Unfortunately, the interestingness of the characters isn't greater than usual, and whatever is being said is so weakly said that it probably wasn't worth saying, unless the point is that the rich and famous live as if they were in a happy movie, whereas the rest of us live in a murder-mystery and are either the accused or the victim. Which is probably so obvious that it isn't worth saying.
Anyway, disappointing compared to the other Spark I've read. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
A short, light read, amusing...and confusing. Not sure what it was trying to say (if anything). The book seems to have two halves. In the first, Tom the movie director (our protagonist) is recovering from a fall off a crane while working on a movie. He recovers, completes the movie, and the second half begins. Here, he's working on a new movie and the daughter of his first marriage suddenly disappears. Tom's driver is shot, but survives, and the daughter is suspected of hiring a gunman, but for what reason, I never did figure out.

The book is my first by this author, and her wise, knowing narrator voice reminds me of novels by her friend, the late Gore Vidal. A lot of telling, rather than showing, which only a writer this good can get away with. It makes the story fly by quickly--perhaps too much so. ( )
  BobNolin | Nov 28, 2012 |
The usual excellent Muriel Spark stuff. ( )
  annesadleir | Nov 8, 2012 |
Spark can pack an awful lot into 181 pages or so. The randy film director Tom gets up to various and sundry shenanigans. Does he wake or sleep? That is the question.
Gore Vidal thought it was Spark at the top of her form. John Mortimer admired her 'sharp and short' style. A S Byatt discovered that Tom's life and his films are distorted shadow images of each other, and the subtlety of the parallels only slowly becomes apparent.
For me, Spark is an acute observer who knows what long-shots are, and what are shoo-ins. ( )
6 vote Porius | Sep 27, 2009 |
A golden-hued gem from the author's later years (published when she was 78). It's no Jean Brodie, but still delightfully brimming with Sparkian vim and verve.

The novel concerns a middle-aged film director and his wandering libido, as well as his complicated and meandering family. Fellini crossed with Iris Murdoch? It's a social comedy in the well-established British tradition. At first glance, it may seem slight, perhaps superficial, but like early Waugh or most of Ivy Compton-Burnett's work, there's a lot going on beneath the surface.

"Tom often wondered if we were all characters in one of God's dreams. To an unbeliever this would have meant the casting of an insubstaniality within an already insubstantial context. Tom was a believer. He meant the very opposite. Our dreams, yes, are insubstantial; the dreams of God, no. They are real, frighteningly real. They bulge with flesh, they bulge with blood. My own dreams, said Tom to himself, are shadows, my arguments - all shadows." ( )
2 vote yooperprof | May 12, 2009 |
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Tom si domandava spesso se non fossimo tutti personaggi di un sogno di Dio.
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Recently read yet
wholly forgotten. I guess
some dames are like that.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395901332, Paperback)

Reality and Dreams, Dame Muriel Spark's twentieth novel, is a masterpiece of restraint. It's a slender book, but such is Spark's skill that the superbly entertaining work conjures wholly the world of its characters with all the clarity and power imaginable from a book of any length. The story casts a famous English film director Tom Richards, his wife Claire, their beautiful daughter Cora and their unbeautiful daughter Marigold, a couple of sons-in-law, friends, et al, in an intelligent, sometimes brutally honest comedy of manners that swirls around Tom's movie projects, everyone's marital infidelities, the growing problem of "redundancy" in the workplace, and the slippery difference between art and life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A British film director falls off a crane during the shooting of a film and while he is in hospital, others muscle in on his work and on his girlfriends. With the help of his understanding wife, who also has her lovers, he recovers and regains control of the film.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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