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Little Nightmares, Little Dreams

Little Nightmares, Little Dreams

by Rachel Simon

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This distinctive, often arresting debut collection of stories marks its author as a writer to watch. In 16 tales, Simon displays an original and provocative style. With a dark humor that often plunges her characters into surreal circumstances, she evokes a Blue Velvet type of skewed Americana. In ``Paint,'' a teenage girl allows herself to be painted, literally, from head to toe. In the title story, an elderly couple contrives to actually dream the same dream. In ``Grandma Death,'' an old woman's propensity for discovering bodies and witnessing fatal accidents leads her to the brink of an isolated reality. In ``Afterglow,'' a captive burglar seems to present the ideal solution to the muddle created by a teenager's faked pregnancy; in ``Since Nanna Came to Stay,'' a child's perceptions are fused with those of her dotty and conniving grandmother. All the stories are as much about the startling interior life of the mind as they are about the superficiality of order and reason. Thoughtful and inspired, Simon's is an impressive, coherent and contemporary (in the best sense) new voice. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Narrated by the wife, the title story of Simon's collection is about a very long, happy marriage in which husband and wife have merged into one person. Dreading their impending separation by the death, the husband suggests an experiment. They will try to dream the same dream as they sleep. They succeed, but triumph is mixed with grief: ``I knew we could do it. It scared me, Elsie. It made me feel like something terrible's going to happen.'' ``The Greatest Mystery of Them All'' is a fantasy in which a young woman, shot by her mother, goes to heaven and meets her dead relatives. ``In Heaven I got to meet God, but he is not presiding on a throne the way I'd expected. Here there are different versions of Him, one to a neighborhood. Our God is a butcher.'' She watches her mother die, knowing that she can ``finally give her a piece of my mind.'' Unfortunately, not all the stories are as good as the two cited, but when Simon is good she is very good.-- Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- In these 16 short stories, Simon exposes the tensions in people alone or within relationships. Sexual wars and weapons are dissected; independence and connections within families are keenly probed. The selections are peopled with unusual characters, some of whom appear in the realm of the night. Simon's perspective is unique; her well-crafted writing style is impressive. Mature YAs interested in creative writing will find the stories a rich source for study and appreciation.-- Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
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