The Dreamseller: The Calling

Augusto Cury, Author
Augusto Cury, trans. from the Portuguese by Cliff Landers, Atria, $23 (242p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9572-7
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-9604-5
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-1-4448-1820-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-85720-531-5
Ebook - 20 pages - 978-1-4516-4783-9
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-1-4391-9573-4
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-85720-532-2
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Psychiatrist Cury's fourth novel combines social commentary and philosophy with a liberal dose of absurdist humor. Julio Lambert stands on the ledge of a 20-story building poised to jump when he's suddenly joined by a mysterious, disheveled stranger, a "dreamseller," whose mission is to convince people to love life. A philosophical dialogue follows as the stranger talks Julio down from the ledge and invites him to become a dreamseller. At first Julio views the journey as a "sociological experiment," but he soon begins to believe. Others join, and the "band of misfits" under the tutelage of the dreamseller visit sites as diverse as an electronics expo, a retirement home, and a funeral, delivering a lesson each place. Citing inspiration from the Magna Carta, Socrates, and Jesus Christ, the dreamseller points out the madness in modern society and invites others to embrace his ideals. As his influence grows, detractors emerge, but he has an answer for everyone, until Megasoft, the corporate monolith and a favorite target of the dreamseller, forces him into a corner. The dreamseller occasionally veers into heavy-handed, preachy territory, and the story's big twist isn't hard to figure out, but Cury's fresh voice and sense of humor keep the platitudes and biblical allegory from overwhelming the delightful story. (Feb.)
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