Dreamers of the Day
So begins the account of Agnes Shanklin, the charmingly diffident narrator of Mary Doria Russell’s compelling new novel, Dreamers ...more
This book, however, was sorely disappointing. The narrator wasn't terribly interesting and I felt at times like I was reading a history book (which is not a good sign since I do NOT enjoy non-fiction). I did learn a lot about how the events following WWI have ...more
I have to say that this book, by one of my favorite authors (see review of The Sparr ...more
But it was actually really engaging and a lot of fun to read, and even when it got weird (the whole ...more
The narrator is an engaging character, and I liked the way that Russell wove her story with that of the conference. Her decision to make the narrator aware that she is speaking with people in the current time makes it possible for her to highlight differences between her time and o ...more
There she encounters various movers and shakers, such as Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia, in the midst of forming the history and geography of the modern middle east.
While dealing with those times, this book has great relevance to our own times, as we face today's issues and the legacy of those decisions that were made so many decades ago.
What makes ...more
In Dreamers of the Day Mary Doria Russell gives us the story of Agnes Shanklin, observer and unlikely participant in the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference which saw the modern Middle East take shape. If it is possible to pinpoint a moment in time from which to explain the conflicts now raging in the Middle East, it is this one. And if ever you need evidence that Russell is a master story teller, consider this: the narrative traces the threads of conflict in the region today to decisions made at the 19...more
It is the story of a 40-year-old schoolteacher who never married and has just lost all of her family to the great influenza. The novel follows her as she travels to Egypt during the Cairo Peace Conferences and meets some of the most famous people of her day, including Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia"), and Lady Bell Gertrude. She blossoms and finds her own inde ...more
Historical fiction at its best: opens a past as can only be done by fiction; while connecting to the reader’s present in ways that are both entertaining and informative. Neatly melds modern opinion with history. Compare this with James Michener’s Caravans, telling in 1963 how the world was going to lose Afghanistan.
“America, I recalled, were notorious colonial troublemakers.” “As the Arabs promise to be,” Lawrence said quietly.
All of the narrowness and preju ...more
The title is taken from a quotation by T.E. Lawrence (remembered today as Lawrence of Arabia), which states:
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."
One reason I really enjoy Mary Doria Russell's writing is that it tends to sneak up on you -- meaning that the more you think about it, the more you realize exactly what she's ...more
Mary Doria Russell, the author of one of my favorite novels, "The Sparrow," ...more
It saddens me, because normally, Russell is an author of superb ability and almost sublime quality, whose books I can read, reread, reread again, and then randomly reread till they're quite worn out. She is that author which I shove copies of into the hands of friends, acquaintances, random classmates, teachers, people in line in the store... What have you. Display the remotest shred of interest in borrowing a book from me and, chance ...more
1. The history in this book covers events that I knew very little about - the 192 ...more
Mary Dora Russel
Reviewed by Ray Zimmerman
She survived the great influenza epidemic that killed more people than World War One, only to discover that her entire family had died. She alone remained to settle the estates of several deceased relatives. From this inauspicious beginning came the life changing adventure of the book’s heroine, Agnes Shanklin.
Suddenly independent of her life as a school teacher, she bought new clothes which her mother would have regarded as frivolous, ...more
Speaking from the grave, Agnes Shanklin, relates the events of her life beginning with WWI though the Great Depression. Agnes, who has grown up ...more
She holds a Ph.D. in Paleoanthropology from the University of Michigan, and has also studied cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois, and social anthropology at Northeastern Univer ...more