Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
A beautiful, bittersweet and magical tale about the distance one man will travel for the sake of love from the internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop
On his way to meet his son for the first time, hardened former war correspondent Henry Skinner is hit by a car after rescuing a child from drowning. He is rushed to hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.
His son, Sam, a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144, waits at his father's bedside. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, another coma patient and the sole survivor of an accident that killed her family.
A heartbreakingly moving and unforgettable story about what love means - the exquisite stirrings of first love, the love between fathers and sons, friendship and family, life and death - and making peace with the past in order to find a future.
Praise for The Book of Dreams :
'Captivating... This exploration of unfinished relationships has a haunting, evocative quality, and is a perfect, conversation-starting selection for book groups.' Publishers Weekly
'An empathetic and emotionally stunning novel ... this deep dive into some of life's most haunting questions will appeal to fans of Isabel Allende' Booklist
'A poignant story about longing, nostalgia, and the pain of missed opportunities' Kirkus Reviews
Originally published in Germany as Das Traumbuch by Knaur Verlag in 2016; translation copyright, ©2019.
On his way to meet his son for the first time, hardened former war correspondent Henry Skinner is hit by a car after rescuing a child from drowning. He is rushed to hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place. His son, Sam, a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144, waits at his father's bedside. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, another coma patient and the sole survivor of an accident that killed her family. As these four very different individuals fight, for hope, for patience, for life, they are bound together inextricably, facing the ravages of loss and first love side by side.
Translated from the German.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
When war correspondent Henri Skinner sees a child plunge from a bridge into the icy water, he jumps in to save her. Then he falls in front of a car and is knocked unconscious. His son, Sam, visits daily and meets Eddie Tomlin, his dad's girlfriend. Sam also encounters a comatose girl, Maddie, the only survivor of a car accident that killed her family. Sam and Eddie do their best to encourage the patients and each other, as Sam plans a birthday party for Maddie, hoping to bring her out of her coma. Henri's life is revealed (including his childhood) in his dreams. Steve West uses an impressive French accent to present the macho yet kind Henri. Elizabeth Knowelden's conversational style is perfect for Eddie, who is warm and determined. Sam is well rendered by Xalvador Tin-Bradbury. He's most appealing when his emotions are reflected in his voice. VERDICT Recommend to the author's fans and those who relish books about family ties and grief.--Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL
Publishers Weekly Review
George's captivating novel (after The Little Paris Bookshop) centers on magical bonds between coma patients and their loved ones. Forty-five-year-old ex-war correspondent Henri Skinner is estranged from his 13-year-old son, and after a traffic accident leaves Henri in an induced coma, Sam starts to form something of a relationship with his father. Sam is gifted, intelligent, and synesthetic, blending the sounds of music and voices into shapes and colors, and although he can sometimes sense his father, he usually feels only darkness. He shares his sorrow with Eddie Tomlin, whom Henri had left over two years earlier but inexplicably named as his representative in his living will. Eddie, for her part, can't help loving the complex man who's "always both running away from himself and searching for his true identity." One other person in the hospital captures Sam's heart: 12-year-old Madelyn, a girl who's also in a coma after an accident that killed her family. Meanwhile, Henri and Madelyn are submerged in real and surreal memories of their earlier lives-and their looming deaths-within their comatose minds. This exploration of unfinished relationships has a haunting, evocative quality, and is a perfect, conversation-starting selection for book groups. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Henri staggers out of the Thames with a young girl clinging to his neck. He had dived off the Hammersmith Bridge to save her, with a few people looking on mutely. After setting the girl down and dizzily stepping into the road, Henri is thrown into the air by a passing car. His injuries leave him in a coma, completely unresponsive. Sam, Henri's son, and Eddie, Henri's first love, find themselves at Henri's bedside, convinced that they can bring him back to the world of the living. In the depths of the coma unit at one of Britain's top hospitals, where spiritual connection and modern medicine intersect, Henri's loved ones face some of the toughest decisions of their lives. Using detailed flashbacks to keep Henri's memory alive and allowing Henri, Sam, and Eddie to narrate alternating chapters, George (The Little French Bistro, 2017) crafts an empathetic and emotionally stunning novel. Never preachy or maudlin, this deep dive into some of life's most haunting questions will appeal to fans of Isabel Allende and Mary Simses.--Stephanie Turza Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
A teenage boy finally gets to know his absentee father, but not until after the man has fallen into a coma.The story opens as Henri Skinner, a former war reporter, jumps into the Thames to save a young girl from drowning. After Henri labors back onto shore with the girl and releases her, he stumbles into oncoming traffic and sustains serious injuries. Henri's son, Sam, is surprised and devastated to learn that at the time of the accident, Henri had been en route to a father-son event at Sam's school. With a stellar IQ and a membership card to Mensa, Sam is hardly a typical kid. He's also a synesthete, meaning his senses overlap in ways that allow him to perceive information through intense interconnected sensory experiences. Without informing his mother, Sam begins visiting Henri in the hospital daily, hoping to draw his father out of the coma he has fallen into. Sam grows acquainted with a slew of characters from the hospital, including a young girl named Maddie, who is also comatose, and Eddie Tomlin, the only woman who ever stole his father's heart. As Sam's visits continue, Henri's prognosis looks increasingly bleak. Yet somehow, Sam feels himself bonding with his father in new and meaningful ways. Told from the alternating perspectives of Sam, Henri, and Eddie, the story contains many flashbacks, memories, and dream sequences as well as detailed tracking of Henri's physical progress. Translated from George's (The Little French Bistro, 2017, etc.) original German, the narrative moves at a gentle pace, often mimicking the repetitiveness that is borne of repeated visits to a sick room. The author uses Henri's evolving mental state to explore possible states of existence and a shifting continuum of consciousness that occupies the spectrum between life and death. Although the story seems to stall at points, it raises interesting existential questions about the purpose and definition of life. Through the challenges and losses that each character endures, the author conducts an effective exploration of connections that transcend physical boundaries.A slow-moving but poignant story about longing, nostalgia, and the pain of missed opportunities. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.