THE WAY WE KNOW IN DREAMS: Stories by Gordon Weaver


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Dreams and memories, and what can be mined there, inform many of these tart, often funny stories by prize-winning writer Weaver (Men Who Would Be Good, 1992, etc.). Hoping to recapture something -- good or bad -- of childhood memories of summers past, a middle-aged man in ""Fearing What Dreams"" returns to live year-round in his family's lakeside cottage in central Wisconsin. He recalls, with some pleasure, readying the cabin each Memorial Day, carrying buckets of water to his unhappy mother to prime the kitchen pump, his grandfather building the porch -- but the townsfolk only vaguely recall him and his family. ""Summer people,"" he's told, ""have no business in the country after Labor Day."" In a delightful lampoon, Darcy, ""Poet-in-Residence"" at a multinational corporation, brags to rival poets -- scruffy, bearded, jaded poseurs every one -- that he owns two dozen three-piece suits and composes on a personal computer. Is he ""not a poet, less a poet,"" because he versifies for VPs and CEOs? A modern-day Faust breaks out of his writer's block when Alma Jean, his saucy, grubby, odoriferous muse (who grows in size the more he believes) finds him work ghostwriting a book on stock market scandals in the mordant but overly clamorous ""Batteiger's Muse."" In the title story, dreams become enfolded within memories within dreams for a Vietnam veteran who casts his memory back to a dream he had while undergoing exit orientation debriefing at An Loc. In the dream he and his Uncle Roy chatted and reminisced at a family reunion. That his uncle's tales of card sharks and gunplay may or may not have been true matters little to the protagonist's memory of the dream or of his uncle: In memories and in dreams ""you know things without seeing them or being told. ""Occasionally too subtle; often too obvious. Still, these stories have a piquant resonance beyond simple entertainment.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1994
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Univ. of Missouri Press