cover image The Dreamed Part

The Dreamed Part

Rodrigo Fresán, trans. from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden. Open Letter, $18.95 trade paper (552p) ISBN 978-1-948830-05-8

The sequel to The Invented Part continues the adventures of Fresán’s unnamed writer but cannot match its predecessor’s brilliance. After failing to throw himself into the Large Hadron Collider (the plot of The Invented Part), the 50-something protagonist, a critic of social media, writes a book on reading and language, and after his star fades, he battles a severe case of insomnia and writer’s block. Wide awake, he concocts scenarios that place him in a world where a phenomenon called the White Plague has robbed the world of dreams and an organization known as Onirium works to preserve the few remaining dreams by extracting them from users’ memories. The writer also remembers and reimagines his own history, including his parents’ disappearance, the strange tales of his Beatles-loving uncle, and the loss of his sister, Penelope, also a writer, who obsessed over Wuthering Heights as a child and went on to pen a series of popular books placing versions of the Brontë sisters on the moon. Less interested in traditional story lines than the way thought patterns can steer narrative, Fresán has plenty to say, yet segments drag, and some tangents fail to deliver. Some fans of The Invented Part will perhaps find enough here to find it worthwhile, but most will be disappointed. [em](Nov.) [/em]