Jul 4, 2008: Dreamers is exactly my kind of story—quiet, thoughtful, full of loneliness and longing; a romance, in a way, but more about the myriad ways damaged people fight off the intimacy they so desperately want, than it is about warm and fuzzy romantic love.
Dreamers follows Muse, a young immortal who lives her days in our world, teaching music to whoever will pay her enough to get by, and never quite feeling that she fits in. She may be the greatest musician the world has ever known, but she hates the idea of fame, preferring a life of anonymity and quiet desperation. In fact, she often lives in her worn out car. But when Muse goes to sleep, she wakes up in the other world, a world where she is an eccentric demigod who blesses musical instruments, sends inspiration in response to prayers left in her mailbox, and lives off the generosity of her worshippers.
When the story opens, Muse has just moved to a new town—perhaps fleeing attachments she was forming in the last one—and shows up for work at a music store, where she is to teach piano to children. To her surprise, she recognizes the man behind the counter, and he her, even though they have never met before. In our world, at least. For he is Love, another immortal. And one she has no time for. In the other world, he is showy and gregarious and popular and throws grand parties every night and is constantly surrounded by adoring fans. All things that Muse finds very unseemly.
She thinks she has him all figured out. And when he invites her over for lunch, she accepts only because she is hungry. She hardly expects it to become a habit.
But Love isn’t as simple as Muse thinks. To her surprise, in our world, he’s patient, and kind, and unassuming. And a friendship begins to grow. Before long, Muse begins to wonder exactly what it is she and Love want out of their relationship. But she steadfastly avoids him in the other world, and he never leaves his estate to come visit her cottage, either.
Unlike some of her stories, Ms. Suleski does not write Dreamers ahead. As a result, the writing can be a bit uneven from chapter to chapter. However it’s never bad, and when it’s good, it’s very good: clean, elegant, and often beautiful. The characterization is careful and subtle, and the relationships develop in interesting and delightful ways, over time.
If you like quiet, beautiful writing, and can handle the slow pace and the lack of a strong plot, you will find Dreamers to be a rare gem. It’s one of my favourite stories, and I don’t think you should miss it.
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