Jenny Diski The Dream Mistress

ISBN 13: 9780880016117

The Dream Mistress

3.04 avg rating
( 27 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780880016117: The Dream Mistress

A sensual novel about companionship, heartache, and alienation. 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 have been 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 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.

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Review:

Jenny Diski's memoir, Skating to Antarctica, offered a painful portrait of a childhood beset by parental abuse and abandonment. The Dream Mistress covers similar territory, but in this case, fiction in some ways proves more disturbing than real life. Mimi is a narcoleptic dressmaker, Bella a mentally unstable street person. Their lives intersect briefly when Mimi finds an unconscious Bella in a back alley and calls an ambulance. Though the two won't meet again, it soon becomes apparent as the novel switches back and forth between them that they are more closely connected than either knows.

Diski juxtaposes the understated terror of Bella's slow disintegration with the almost dreamlike detachment of Mimi's emotionally vacant life. Though it's clear from the start just how these two women are connected, the author doesn't overplay it, choosing, instead, subtle parallels in their lives--Bella entering the church as a nun with faith but without belief eerily resonates with Mimi's illicit affair that is at once passionate yet loveless. There's a great deal of graphic sex that is more disturbing than erotic, and Diski doesn't pull her punches when it comes to describing madness, homelessness, or the often brutal relations between men and women. The Dream Mistress is an undeniably intelligent novel, if a chilly one; a book that is easier to admire than to love. --Alix Wilber

About the Author:

Jenny Diski has written several novels, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a memoir, "Skating to Antarctica," published by Ecco. She is a regular contributor to the "London Review of Books" and lives in London.

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Jenny Diski
Published by Ecco Pr (1999)
ISBN 10: 0880016116 ISBN 13: 9780880016117
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Book Description Ecco Pr, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0880016116

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Diski, Jenny
Published by Ecco Pr (1999)
ISBN 10: 0880016116 ISBN 13: 9780880016117
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
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Book Description Ecco Pr, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110880016116

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