Monday, January 08, 2007

Dream of the Blue Room, by Michelle Richmond

(hb; 2002)

From the back cover:

"On a warm July night, thirty-two year old Jenny finds herself sitting on the deck of a Chinese cruise ship next to a charming but secretive stranger. Her husband is down in the cabin sleeping, and in Jenny's lap is a cookie tin containing the ashes of her best friend, Amanda Ruth, brutally murdered fourteen years earlier in a small Alabama town.

"In this foreign landscape, filled with ancient cities that will soon be inundated by the rising waters of the Yangtze River, Jenny must confront her haunted past and decide the direction of her future. As the ship moves slowly upriver, from one abandoned village to another, Jenny journeys deeper into her own guilt and eroticism..."

Review:

This death-themed, stream-of-consciousness novel is melancholic, though muted hope lightens the proceedings. Richmond's writing flows as easily as the river that Jenny, her emotionally-distant husband (Dave), and her intriguing stranger-lover (Graham) ride.

Jenny is a creature in transition, for whom things, emotions and traditional morality are hazy. So are many of the other characters, especially blunt charming Graham, whose secret may be pivotal to their collective fates.

Dream is movingly great. Check it out.

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