×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Dream Mistress
     

The Dream Mistress

by Jenny Diski
 

See All Formats & Editions

Mimi has the greatest difficulty staying awake; she nods off at the movies, during conversations with Jack, in the middle of a dinner party. She sleeps, apparently dream-free, partly escaping the demands of waking consciousness, partly submitting to the irresistible pull of "a veil of water-sodden grey mist".

One cold winter night, Mimi discovers an unconscious bag

Overview

Mimi has the greatest difficulty staying awake; she nods off at the movies, during conversations with Jack, in the middle of a dinner party. She sleeps, apparently dream-free, partly escaping the demands of waking consciousness, partly submitting to the irresistible pull of "a veil of water-sodden grey mist".

One cold winter night, Mimi discovers an unconscious bag lady huddled behind a London cinema. A sense of duty and curiosity prompts her to call an ambulance. Later that evening, after Jack walks out on her, Mimi withdraws to bed, wondering if the vagrant could be someone she once knew. Could the old woman layered in filthy rags have been Leah, Mimi's abandoned and abandoning mother, in a former existence? Or perhaps it was Bella, a bomb-blast victim with a disfigured face, silenced and surgically reconstructed, but strangely and passionately loved by a married Casanova. Then again, she might have been a nun, perverse and reclusive, and gifted with miraculous powers.

Sensual and absorbing, The Dream Mistress is an intelligent novel about skepticism, love, and faith.

Editorial Reviews

Diana Postlethwaite
...[E]legantly wrought and unsettling....the distinctive power of of Diski's novel lies in the striking way she intermingles a tone of steel-trap rationality with potent images from the oozy underbelly of the subconscious.
-- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
From the inventive, darkly acerbic, cunningly erotic Diski (Monkey's Uncle; an acclaimed memoir, Skating to Antarctica.) comes this story of the chance encounter of a mother and daughter, long apart, who pass mutually unrecognized but are nonetheless affected by what transpires. Mimi, having fallen asleep in a London cinema to the outrage of her lover (who takes the dozing-as intended-as a reflection on himself), walks out on the guy, only to come across a comatose bag lady by the theater's rear exit. After an ambulance whisks the old girl away, Mimi goes home to bed, speculating on what has just happened while awaiting the death of her relationship, which occurs later that same night. Meanwhile, at the hospital, the bag lady, named Bella by the EMT's, is being cleaned before treatment. Imagining, in her unconscious state, that she's been stripped to her very organs, she searches for clues to her identity. She fancies she's faceless, the victim of a terrorist's bomb, but saved by a man who's in love with her-because, without her face, he could imagine the face he always had loved. In truth, though, she's Mimi's mother, Leah, who, abandoned by her husband, in turn abandoned her child. Converting from Judaism to Catholicism, becoming a nun even while remaining an atheist, Leah had to give it up when her aloofness proved untenable. So she plummeted into life as a welfare case, was dismissed as half-mad-but finally (and miraculously) seemed to heal a neighbor's dying child, then took to the streets in shock. After many years, a coincidental meeting with that child, now an addict who's half mad himself, brought her to the state in which Mimi discovered her. An elaborate tale,finding humor in the odd corners created when what's real and what isn't converge: a story that both disturbs and delights.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781862073074

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews