6.29.2014

The Anatomy of Dreams, by Chloe Krug Benjamin

The Anatomy of Dreams
We spend a lot of time thinking about sleep, mostly about how none of us get enough of it. We rarely think about what happens between the time we drift off and when the alarm rudely snatches us into the waking world. Some lucky (or unlucky) people can remember their dreams. Chloe Krug Benjamin's The Anatomy of Dreams will leave you thinking about what happens during those hours for a long time.

At a boarding school in northern California, Sylvie Patterson and Gabe Lennox meet and fall in love. They understand each other in a way that no one else does. This being fiction, nothing is perfect. Sylvie wakes up to find Gabe gone. He's doing some mysterious work for Mr. Keller, the psychology teacher. Then, in senior year, he disappears with no explanation. Sylvie is heartbroken, but she manages to get on with her life. She attends Berkeley, studies psychology and videography, meets another boy. Then Gabe comes back.

Gabe kept working for Mr. Keller. The two of them are studying lucid dreaming and how it can be used to help people overcome night terrors, somnabulism, and other sleep disorders. Gabe talks Sylvie into joining their small research group and for a few relatively happy years, she and Gabe travel across the country with Keller. Over time, Sylvie becomes disillusioned with the work. Keller has strange ideas about how far they can take lucid dreaming. One of their patients, who displayed a potential for violence while sleeping, commits a dreadful crime. Sylvie wonders about the ethics of what Keller is doing. And then, Sylvie discovers the biggest betrayal of all.

The Anatomy of Dreams may disappoint some readers. Benjamin's tale seems like it's going to go strange and interesting places at several points only to pull back from turning into science fiction or fantasy. The book is thoroughly grounded in our reality. But as a tale about how our sleeping selves can live a life of their own without our waking self's awareness, The Anatomy of Dreams is a very intriguing story.

I received a free copy of this ebook to review from Edelweiss, on behalf of the publisher. It will be released 16 September 2014.

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