THE REPUBLIC OF DREAMS by G. Garfield Crimmins


A Reverie
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Surrealist fiction, consisting of the recollections of a man transported to the island republic of Ràves (pronounced rev), “located in the mid-Atlantic, somewhere south of Bermuda, between the Sea of Clouds and the Sea of the Unseen.” The citizens of the republic (which is generally invisible) are, according to excerpts from a guidebook included in the text, “artists, dreamers, and eccentrics who have an instinctive dislike of the narrow limitations of common sense” and who revere “the boundless infinity of the realms of the imagination.” Along with a number of playfully altered photographs, montages, and some brilliantly colored, appropriately dreamlike, paintings, a series of faux documents have been bound into the book (a technique pioneered in the Griffin and Sabine trilogy), including envelopes with telegrams and a map of Ràves. While the central narrative has something to do with the pursuit of an elusive beauty (Nadja La Claire) across the Ràverian landscape, the work is at heart a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the alluring (and disorienting) power of the imagination: a witty, ingenious entertainment, filled with sly references to the paintings and writings of the French surrealists—and a first for author/artist/narrator Crimmins. It’s hard, after all, to resist a country governed by poets who spend their days drafting “exceptions to the rule,” whose inhabitants value “wisdom . . . the feast and the dance,” and who spend their days practicing “mischief as much as poetry.” (Four-color art throughout.) (Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-393-04633-8
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1998