Dreams of Leaving

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
There is a deus ex machina in this humdinger of a first novel, masquerading as the piranha-like English village of New Egypt. Once born there, nobody escapesnobody except Moses Highness, whose spiritually imprisoned father George collects rushes from the river, fashions them into a basket and sets his 13-month-old son afloat. We meet Moses next in London, age 24, 66 with knockout looks. He has spent the intervening years first in an orphanage and then with warm and caring foster parents. Jobless, but never short of resources, Moses and a handful of punk friends seem determined to drink or drug themselves into oblivion. But Moses can never get drunk enough to dislodge the painful question of his identity, with which the bulk of the action and the remainder of the book are concerned. Jam-packed with events and filled with suspense, the narrative is completely absorbing. Because the prose is elegant and magic with metaphor, because even secondary characters brighten the pagesEddie, for instance, whose smile is ``almost as loud as a laugh''the reader cheerfully suspends disbelief. When the long but never burdensome tale comes to a close, Moses has uncovered his past but not yet the kernel of self. The future of Moses and New Egypt will be happily pondered by those whose good fortune it is to have met them. (April)
Library Journal
Moses Highness lives in London, on the dole, in a careless existence of parties, booze, and drugs. Raised in a pleasant foster home, he has only a vague wish to know about his real parents. Like his namesake, Moses was placed in a basket and floated from New Egypt; his was the only successful escape from a cloistered village whose inhabitants are hopeless and deadened. New Egypt police chief Peach eventually tracks Moses down in London; meanwhile Moses makes his way to New Egypt. Aside from an overabundance of self-conscious similes, the humorous, surreal dialogue and narrative in this first novel ring true, conveying the aimless quality of Moses's life and his unconscious search for family and meaning. Recommended. A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689119576
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 4/28/1988
  • Pages: 448

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