“People always say that, don’t they? People think hope can be raised or lowered like a flag, and it’s not like that at all. It’s in your chest no matter what. I couldn’t have pushed it off if I tried. I’d been stabbed in the heart, but the hope… No, it was just like a rock.”
It’s going to be tough describing a book like The Dream Peddler without descending into metaphors about dreams, so I’m not going to even try. This book is a dream – the heavy kind that clings to you like sticky cobwebs throughout the day, rising and falling in your consciousness with sudden waves of meaning, understanding, and emotion.
At it’s heart, the Dream Peddler is a simple story. A man comes to a small, quiet town, a man who promises he can give you the dream you’ve always wanted – for the right price. That same day, a little boy goes missing. While the search for the child begins – and ends and continues – the dream peddler gives the town the dreams it always thought it wanted. Of course, what you think you want isn’t always what you actually want, and the town has to reckon between the two.
But simple stories disguise deeper truths. This is a story about dreams, yes, about the casual way we dismiss their importance, or the way we cling to them without actually doing anything that might make a dream real. But the Dream Peddler is really a story about grief. The ways we process grief, the ways we try to avoid grief, and the ways grief has of taking hold of us, overpowering us. Even grief can be a dream, smothering and leaching all life and vitality from the world, until we just drift through it, unable to interact with or engage our surroundings.
And it can take so much effort to wake up.
Heavy as it is – and as necessary – it’s a beautiful book. Every paragraph is a painting and even the tiniest moments are sculpted with charm and care. I always marvel at authors who can capture mundane details and transform them into breathtaking moments. And Martine does that in every paragraph of every page.
Martine puts a lot of skill on display here. I drank up this book and I’m looking forward to what she does next!
The Dream Peddler is out tomorrow – but you still have a chance to pre-order!
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