Fever dreams

Here’s an interesting, unusual topic for a list of books: FEVER DREAM NOVELS: 7 GREAT BOOKS THAT YOU’LL READ IN A MAD, DISORIENTING DASH

I’m not sure how often I’m interested in a novel that could be described that way, but I’m immediately intrigued by the idea, not repulsed. I thought at once of Piranasi, though I’m not sure that’s fair. The narrative there is not exactly disorienting. The setting is a bit like a fever dream, and we don’t know what’s going on for quite some time, but still, I don’t know I’d include this title on a list like this, even though it did leap to mind. I’m not sure what I would include on a list like this. This is from at Crime Reads, so I’m assuming we’ll be seeing mysteries or thrillers. Oh, considering thrillers makes me think of another candidate!

The Breach and other novels by Patrick Lee.

Ghost Country (Travis Chase Series Book 2)

There’s so much weirdness in these stories, starting with What’s going on? and then to Wait, is this really happening? Spoiler: sometimes it’s not really happening! There are a whole bunch of truly shocking plot twists in this series. It does take a certain degree of suspension of disbelief, but these are wonderful thrillers. Patrick Lee is a great writer at the sentence level as well as the plot-twist level.

Let me see what’s actually here on this Crime Reads post …

Nothing I’ve heard of; no real surprise as I don’t read all that many thrillers and tend to prefer historical mysteries to the sort that could be described as fever dreams. Let me just see, though … Hmm, of these seven books, this is the one that sounds most intriguing to me:

A little boy’s disappearance ripples through an entire community in this unconventional book with a heavy dose of folklore. It uses an experimental style and poetic language to weave a tale of small town gossip, blame, and grief, almost like a modern fairytale. This is a quick read that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Hmm. Gossip, blame, and grief; that doesn’t sound great. Yet I still clicked through to take a closer look on Amazon. Here’s the top review there:

What an extraordinary book. Its delicate but perfect form leaves me with no real way to use my own ordinary language to describe it except to say that it’s extraordinary. Beautiful. Lanny and Pete and Jolie will linger in my mind and heart, and Dead Papa Toothwort was terrifying and so much more viscerally true than our benign ideas of Mother Nature, even though both are creative forces. … Part 2 was extraordinary, just the most perfect form for that part of the story, and especially coming on the heels of the ordinary narrative of Part 1. But Part 3 just kept me on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I could but also being terrified of what I might read. 

You know what, I think I’ll pick up a sample. I don’t know that I want to read this right now, but I think I do want to try it eventually.

Meanwhile, I’ve thought of another more title that might belong on this sort of list:

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls by [Matt Ruff]

Andy Gage was born in 1965 and murdered not long after by his stepfather. . . . It was no ordinary murder. Though the torture and abuse that killed him were real, Andy Gage’s death wasn’t. Only his soul actually died, and when it died, it broke in pieces. Then the pieces became souls in their own right, coinheritors of Andy Gage’s life. . . .

Andy’s new coworker, Penny Driver, is also a multiple personality, a fact that Penny is only partially aware of. When several of Penny’s other souls ask Andy for help, Andy reluctantly agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that threatens to destroy the stability of the house. Now Andy and Penny must work together to uncover a terrible secret that Andy has been keeping . . . from himself.

It’s been some years since I read this book. I liked it a lot. I don’t remember it that well, but I know the torture-and-abuse backstory isn’t too graphic in the novel and that the ending isn’t too grim, but it’s weird in the right way for this kind of list. I ought to re-read it. I see from glancing at Ruff’s other titles that he probably specializes in Wait, is this real? storytelling. I’m going to get a sample of Bad Monkeys while I’m at it.

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2 thoughts on “Fever dreams”

  1. I’m generally not a fan of not knowing what’s going on (in fiction or in life!), but that’s quite the review for Lanny. If I picked up the Matt Ruff book (because of its intriguing cover) I would likely put it down again quickly, but if you liked it I am inclined to be more interested. That’s quite the way to describe multiple personality disorder.

  2. If you do try that Matt Ruff book, please let me know what you think! I should re-read it … a comment I make ALL THE TIME, but really, I should.

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