Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day Twenty-Nine: "Other People's Dreams" by John Irving


A newly divorced man contemplates why he never had his own dreams while married to his wife for 10 years, particularly in light of the apparently active dream lives of those around him. What he finds is that in moving from bed to bed to couch to recliner, every time he falls asleep, he dreams the dreams of the person who'd previouly slept in a given spot. It's really fascinating the way Irving works this story and leaves the reader asking whether the man truly takes on these "old" dreams or if he is dreaming in the shoes of others.

From his ex-wife dreaming of old age and its effect on her body to his mother dreaming of making love with his father, now deceased, there are moments when this story breaks your heart.

The part that stands out to me is when the the narrator explains why perhaps the man isn't dreaming on his own or rather, why he isn't examining further why he's only dreaming through others. This quote sums it up:

"We are top-of-the-water adventurers who limit our opinions of the icebergs to what we can see."

What a perfect way to say "we are afraid to look for the meaning"...this is why I read John Irving!

1 comment:

J.E. McFatter said...

You know, for some reason I've never read anything by John Irving. Maybe I should start with this.