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Dorothea Dreams    by Suzy McKee Charnas order for
Dorothea Dreams
by Suzy McKee Charnas
Order:  USA  Can
Aqueduct Press, 2010 (1986)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Dorothea Dreams by Suzy McKee Charnas is not to be missed. Although first published in 1986, it is timeless. The story is character driven happily so.

Dorothea Howard is an artist, having realized her talent late in life. She lives in a remote area of the New Mexican desert, near Taos. Relishing her privacy, she embarks on a massive work a collage she is gluing to a wall of rock using detritus she discovers in the desert.

An old friend bumbles into her life. He is dying of cancer and would like to stay with her for a bit. They need each other she being plagued by a recurrent dream and he coming to terms with his demise. Together they realize her dream has a history - and a ghost! As if their emotions weren't at a high enough pitch, they suffer through a home invasion.

Their story is not a usual one. They do, however, learn from each other as he deciphers her dream and she tries to come to terms with the imminent death of an old and dear friend. He implores her to move on. Accept the publicity her art work will bring her. Accept that she is more than a capable artist.

'The whole point of letting go of what's behind you is to leave you open-handed for what's already blowing toward you from the future.' This is a gold standard by which to live. But if you only take these good words from the story, you'll have missed a wonderfully sage novel, full of compassion and love.

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