A. N. Wilson Dream Children: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780393319934

Dream Children: A Novel

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9780393319934: Dream Children: A Novel

"A novel that's both chilling in its depiction of a madman and biting in its portrayal of a group of self-deluding bohemians. . . . It marks a darkening and deepening of Mr. Wilson's ambition." --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Oliver Gold, the brilliant, ascetic writer and philosopher, has lived quietly and happily for eight years on the outskirts of London as a lodger in 12 Wagner Rise. His sudden decision to marry and move to America precipitates a crisis in this household of women, all of whom owe fierce, idiosyncratic allegiance to Oliver and want to save him and their world from an unsuitable, inexplicable match. Yet in the end it is only Bobs, the twelve-year-old who is Oliver's constant companion, who knows his dangerous secret: it is from her that Oliver attempts to flee. In a series of dramatic tableaux, unfolding over the course of many years, A. N. Wilson threads the dark labyrinths of Wagner Rise and illuminates the tragic consequences of these attachments. With this provocative novel about forbidden love, Wilson has produced a stunning, haunting literary work-a Lolita for our times.

"A respectable, genuine, intellectual portrait of a pedophile that also makes for a gripper indeed. . . . Sex-tormented Oliver . . . in spite of all (and 'all' includes plenty) remains believably human, thanks to the estimably gifted Wilson." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)  "Wicked English wit . . . has the kind of sly humor where grimness itself becomes the joke." - The New Yorker  "Well written and sensitively realized. . . . [Wilson] lets the characters' fates unfold over the years and shows, touchingly, how the pain and self-deception at 12 Wagner Rise taints all their lives." - Philadelphia Inquirer

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Review:

Life has not always been harmonious at 12, Wagner Rise. But for the past seven years, philosopher extraordinaire Oliver Gold has caused an entire extended family to stop quarreling among themselves and turned their huge North London home into a cozy, if odd, ménage. How has this seemingly asexual individual accomplished this feat? By using the best tactic on tap--making them all fall in love with him, from the aging matriarch to a pair of lesbian lovers to a 10-year-old girl named Bobs. Alas, things go entirely out of whack when Oliver reveals--or has young Bobs announce--his engagement, and to a rather mousy American named Camilla of all people!

Dream Children would seem on a par with Iris Murdoch's searching and satirical dissections of the socially and intellectually gifted. But A.N. Wilson opens his novel with a more contemporary (and more American) spectacle: a recovered-memory trial in which a middle-aged woman claims she was raped at 6. "It was one of those cases which divided the nation. Those of the conservative disposition felt that the plaintiff was hysterical, probably deluded, certainly, which amounted to something pretty similar, female." And pedophilia, it turns out, is at the heart of Wilson's 17th fiction. Oliver Gold's purity of thought and word are in no way matched by his deeds and desires.

Owing to his own early encounters, our antihero has decided he can only be happy with a child, "a little dream lover." And until Bobs he has lived inside his head, with a little help from Lewis Carroll et al. But 12, Wagner Rise turns out to be the ideal love nest: "What began to unfold was the most delicious danger, the most heart-rending miracle. Now, looking back, he did not choose to put dates on the affair or ask himself when it had all begun. It was the central fact of his life, the knowledge that he and Bobs were made for each other." Oliver may be able to rationalize himself through--and others into--almost anything, but his fellow homesteaders are equally (though not so antisocially) self-deluded. The author has the right, light touch with his emotionally injured and injuring man of intellect, and the ironies reverberate throughout his disturbingly delightful book (one reason Dream Children is unlikely to be an Oprah pick). Oliver's fiancée, for instance, tells her visiting, and appalled, mother, "If that man didn't want a kid of his own, I don't know who does!" Some readers may consider A.N. Wilson's approach far too clever, and cold, for his hot-button subject, but he doesn't need to hammer his moral point home. His intricate narrative and chilling conclusion do so with artistic aplomb. --Kerry Fried

About the Author:

A. N. Wilson is the author of the acclaimed biographies Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, Jesus, and Paul; God's Funeral, and several celebrated novels. He lives in London.

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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Oliver Gold, the brilliant, ascetic writer and philosopher, has lived quietly and happily for eight years on the outskirts of London as a lodger in 12 Wagner Rise. His sudden decision to marry and move to America precipitates a crisis in this household of women, all of whom owe fierce, idiosyncratic allegiance to Oliver and want to save him and their world from an unsuitable, inexplicable match. Yet in the end it is only Bobs, the twelve-year-old who is Oliver s constant companion, who knows his dangerous secret: it is from her that Oliver attempts to flee. In a series of dramatic tableaux, unfolding over the course of many years, A. N. Wilson threads the dark labyrinths of Wagner Rise and illuminates the tragic consequences of these attachments. With this provocative novel about forbidden love, Wilson has produced a stunning, haunting literary work-a Lolita for our times. A respectable, genuine, intellectual portrait of a pedophile that also makes for a gripper indeed. . . . Sex-tormented Oliver . . . in spite of all (and all includes plenty) remains believably human, thanks to the estimably gifted Wilson. - Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Wicked English wit . . . has the kind of sly humor where grimness itself becomes the joke. - The New Yorker Well written and sensitively realized. . . . [Wilson] lets the characters fates unfold over the years and shows, touchingly, how the pain and self-deception at 12 Wagner Rise taints all their lives. - Philadelphia Inquirer. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780393319934

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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Oliver Gold, the brilliant, ascetic writer and philosopher, has lived quietly and happily for eight years on the outskirts of London as a lodger in 12 Wagner Rise. His sudden decision to marry and move to America precipitates a crisis in this household of women, all of whom owe fierce, idiosyncratic allegiance to Oliver and want to save him and their world from an unsuitable, inexplicable match. Yet in the end it is only Bobs, the twelve-year-old who is Oliver s constant companion, who knows his dangerous secret: it is from her that Oliver attempts to flee. In a series of dramatic tableaux, unfolding over the course of many years, A. N. Wilson threads the dark labyrinths of Wagner Rise and illuminates the tragic consequences of these attachments. With this provocative novel about forbidden love, Wilson has produced a stunning, haunting literary work-a Lolita for our times. A respectable, genuine, intellectual portrait of a pedophile that also makes for a gripper indeed. . . . Sex-tormented Oliver . . . in spite of all (and all includes plenty) remains believably human, thanks to the estimably gifted Wilson. - Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Wicked English wit . . . has the kind of sly humor where grimness itself becomes the joke. - The New Yorker Well written and sensitively realized. . . . [Wilson] lets the characters fates unfold over the years and shows, touchingly, how the pain and self-deception at 12 Wagner Rise taints all their lives. - Philadelphia Inquirer. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780393319934

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