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Dreamers of the Day: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Mary Doria Russell

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9181189,559 (3.64)161
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:Dreamers of the Day: A Novel
Authors:Mary Doria Russell
Info:Ballantine Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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Dreamers of the Day: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell (2008)

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Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
Audio read by Ann Marie Lee
3 stars
Ms Russell clearly set out to accomplish many things with this book. She had a history lesson to teach and some philosophical and political opinions to put across. It’s not surprising that she would select an elementary teacher as her narrator and protagonist. (We do tend to be pedantic.) Agnes is a 40 year-old spinster fifth grade teacher at the time of the 1918 flu epidemic. The epidemic wipes out her entire family and leaves her with enough money to quit her job and seek personal liberation in Egypt and Palestine. Up to this point the book is probable historical fiction. The description of the great flu epidemic gives a clear picture of the devastation.
Once she arrives in Egypt, the story veers into the range of historical fantasy. How likely is it that a fifth grade teacher from Ohio would not only meet but socialize with T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell and Winston Churchill? However, given that the author’s goal is to insure that we are all smarter than a 5th grader regarding the history of our current mess in the middle east, the story is at least an entertaining lesson. I think Doria Russell chose the perfect narrator for her book. She wanted to teach and preach. Who better than a school teacher to tell the story?

Oh, did I mention that the school teacher had a dog? A dachshund, called Rosie. I really enjoyed the dog.

( )
1 vote msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I live in hope of the day MDR writes sf again. Till that time, I shall seek solace in the pages of her excellent historical fiction.
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Excellent book. At its heart a romance but it really lays out how the seeds of the current situation in the Middle East were planted after World War I. ( )
1 vote CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Excellent book. At its heart a romance but it really lays out how the seeds of the current situation in the Middle East were planted after World War I. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Excellent book. At its heart a romance but it really lays out how the seeds of the current situation in the Middle East were planted after World War I. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
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I suppose I ought to warn you at the outset that my present circumstances are puzzling, even to me.
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Book description
After suffering the loss of her family in the Great War, and the resulting Flu epidemic, school-teacher Agner Shanklin decides to go on the trip of a lifetime, to Egypt, where she meets with some famous figures.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345485556, Paperback)

With prose as graceful and effortless as a seductive float down the Nile, Mary Doria Russell illuminates the long, rich history of the Middle East with a story that brilliantly elucidates today’s headlines.

Agnes Shanklin, a forty-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio, has come into a modest inheritance that allows her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. Arriving at the Semiramis Hotel just as the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference convenes, she is freed for the first time from her mother’s withering influence and finds herself being wooed by a handsome, mysterious German. At the same time, Agnes–with her plainspoken American opinions–is drawn into the company of Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence, and Lady Gertrude Bell, who will, in the space of a few days, redraw the world map to create the modern Middle East. As they change history, Agnes too will find her own life transformed forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A forty-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio still reeling from the tragedies of the Great War and the influenza epidemic comes into a modest inheritance that allows her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. Arriving at the Semiramis Hotel, site of the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference, she meets Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence, and Lady Gertrude Bell. With her plainspoken American opinions, she becomes a sounding board for these historic luminaries who will, in the space of a few days, invent the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. While neither a pawn or a participant at the conference, she is drawn into the geopolitical intrigue surrounding the conference.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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