Dreamside by Graham Joyce, a retrospective

As per my previous post, I’ve started at the beginning, and re-read Graham Joyce’s first novel Dreamside. It’s always been a favourite of mine. Not because it’s his best; I think any writer would be disappointed at the idea that their first book was their best. This book deals with lucid dreaming and I’ve always been a lucid dreamer, so it appeals to me because of that.

If anything, I enjoyed this book even more the second time. I was surprised by how much I had forgotten. Much of the main storyline was a surprise to me. Graham captured lucid dreaming very vividly, and very accurately. (Unlike the recent Doctor Who Christmas Special, but we won’t go there…) The weird dream-scape reality of lucidity, as well as the frightening ‘repeaters‘, were very clearly and eloquently evoked.

I’m not going to go into too many details, or ‘review’ the book in any traditional way. That’s not what this tribute is about. However, I will say that I found it a uniquely satisfying read. I was struck by the fact that a main character was called Ella, which I know is also the name of Graham’s daughter. A favourite name, perhaps, but Ella in the book is an intriguing, enchanting and wonderful character, so maybe that’s a factor too. I was also struck by Graham’s mastery of the omniscient voice, switching perspective effortlessly, against typical creative writing advice about multiple points of views. It re-enforced to me that there is only what works and what doesn’t. Graham made this work here, as he did in other novels, such as THE FACTS OF LIFE. (Probably my favourite of his books.)

More of this to come in 2015, so watch this space. Meanwhile, have a Happy New Year.

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