I've been reading Steve Erickson's These Dreams of You in fits and starts. It's been a crazy week of work, so this novel has become a strange respite (mostly because it is in no way a respite) from work madness. The novel has its own internal madness going on, so it has made for an odd reading week.
Two bits have stayed with me, though, and I keep thinking back on them when I'm on six back to back conference calls day after day (and if you can be on my mind during all of that, that's something, no?):
"This is prosperity, he bays at them beneath montana nights, calculated as much by what's polluted, what's killed, what's secured and incarcerated, but never by a child's delight, a poem's spell, the immutable power of a kept promise. It's a prosperity that measures everything that means nothing and nothing that means everything. It tells all of us, he concludes to the crowds, everything about our country except why it's ours."
"I don't know how much time I have," he says, "to become the person that I hope I am."
Neither of these passages give you any idea - in a tangible way - what this novel is about. And yet, they do. I'm not yet at the point where I'm clear how I even feel about the book. I was very much into it early on, lost some steam during the Kennedy stuff, now I'm in a haze that might be more related to too much work than a failing of the novel.
I'll circle back on this one though, as Erickson is attempting to do something interesting that I admire whether he succeeds fully or not.