Lincoln’s Dreams
Connie Willis

Category: Science Fiction
Morality: B
Writing: B+

Jeff is a researcher for a popular novelist, looking up obscure facts about the Civil War and its lead players to increase the accuracy of his obsessed employer. Then he meets Annie, a mysterious and beautiful young woman who appears to be having the dreams of Robert E. Lee. As Jeff strives to unravel the mystery of Annie’s dreams and they visit several central Civil War sites, he begins to suspect the disturbing truth about Annie’s dreams.

Although this is Connie Willis’ first novel, I can’t help but compare it to her later books, which I have read and loved. And while this book is good, it doesn’t compare to, say, Passage, with which it shares several thematic and plot elements. If you’ve read Passage, parts of this book will not come as much of a surprise to you. It’s also a lot shorter, which makes it less complex. Still, it was an enjoyable, suspenseful read, with plenty of good writing and some interesting themes. Willis is quite simply an excellent writer, with perfect dramatic pacing, and effective emotional sensitivity. Once again, she expertly portrays the feeling of intense significance, just out of reach — here it’s linked to dreams, about which all human beings have such feelings at times. She also explores the devotion of men to their leaders in the Civil War, a war in which (she says) many men fought and died because of that very devotion rather than for ideological reasons. Is such self-sacrifice without a reasonable, worthy cause noble and heroic or foolish and selfish? She doesn’t give an easy answer to this question, but asks it in a compelling and effective manner.

Content warning: This book contains some fairly mild descriptions of war violence, and some bad language, as well as some generally mature/disturbing content related to the subject matter.

Posted by Sasha | November 4, 2007

Leave a Reply

Powered by WP Hashcash