Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams

Alexander McCall Smith, Author . Canongate $18 (173p) ISBN 978-1-84195-823-1

The bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels and the 44 Scotland Street novels has always included one-offs and detours in his oeuvre (including The Criminal Law of Botswana ). Here, he turns in an elegant contemporary reworking of the ancient Celtic myth of the dream-giver god, Angus, familiar from Yeats's poetry. Lovely, fair Angus is the son of the terrible club-wielding god, Dagda, who sired the boy by ravishing the lovely water nymph Boann. The young boy who charms birds and inspires marvelous dreams is soon snatched from his mother and raised by Dagda's other son, the grown Midir. After some trials, Angus eventually learns who his true father is and tricks Dagda into relinquishing power. Smith fluidly weaves in contemporary vignettes of the dream god's benevolent influence, touching the lives of honeymooners on a windswept northern island; of a teenage boy sent away to boarding school in Scotland who tricks his mother into revealing who his true father is; and of a Toronto woman bereft at the discovery that her husband is having an affair. Angus, who presides over love and youth is also, it turns out, kindly to pigs. He is nicely reimagined in this spare, polished work. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/21/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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