Thomson's first-rate, lively debut novel blends nightclub-scene realism with light fantasy in a thoroughly entertaining libation, and marks the entry of a new British author of major promise. Already published to acclaim in England, Dreams of Leaving pits its youthful hero, alive and well in the bombed-out shell of Thatcherite England, against the forces of orderliness and restraint. The story begins in the late 50's when Moses Highness is born in the obscure English village of New Egypt--a place where residents are forbidden from ever leaving by the ultradiligent police force headed up by an obsessive by the name of Peach. Peach's accomplishments include curatorship over a police-only museum highlighting remnants of botched New Egypt escape attempts, but nonetheless Moses' father manages to make his infant son live up to the Biblical reference and sets him adrift on a river in a woven basket: New Egypt's first and only escapee. We next see Moses more than 20 years later, a cavalier young fixture of late-night London clubs frying himself up on whatever drugs emerge from the dance floor. Inhabiting rooms above his favorite haunt, The Bunker, Moses has no knowledge of New Egypt or his parents. But back in New Egypt the tireless Peach has not forgotten about the one smirch in his otherwise escape-free slate, and follows Moses' trail to London while at the same time Moses works backwards towards New Egypt in search of his parents--all of which leads to the inevitable showdown between Moses and the inscrutable Peach. Buoyant, assured, and very funny.