A Dream Life (Short Books by Great Women Writers) (Hardcover)
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A jewel of a novel by New York Times-bestselling author Claire Messud
When the Armstrong family moves from New York at the dawn of the 1970s, Australia feels, to Alice Armstrong, like the end of the earth. Residing in a grand manor on the glittering Sydney Harbour, her family finds their life has turned upside down. As she navigates this strange new world, Alice must weave an existence from its shimmering mirage.
Lies and self-deception are at the heart of this keenly observed story. This is a sharp, biting, and playful tale with a cast of unscrupulous characters adrift in a dream life of their own making. Written with the characteristic delicacy of touch, humor, and emotional insight that make Claire Messud one of our greatest writers.
“A novelist of unnerving talent.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[Messud is] among our greatest contemporary writers.” —The New Yorker
“A perfect frolic of a book, puffed on breezes of beauty and wit: it waltzes you through a little fear, a little darkness, and tips you out, refreshed and laughing, into the sun.” —Helen Garner
About the Author
Claire Messud is the author of seven works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers The Emperor’s Children and The Burning Girl, and a book of essays, Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write. She is a recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"An interior tale of relationships, deception and characters living in their own dream lives, this beautifully written slim book will not only transport you around the world but will remind you that wherever you go, there you are." —Zibby Owens, Good Morning America
"A witty novella...Think The Turn of the Screw reimagined as a comedy of manners. And yes, it’s also a beautifully designed little book — a delight to read and eminently giveable, too." — Ron Charles,The Washington Post
"Messud is clearly well suited to the novella’s compact form, alive to the specifics of the sentences but able to draw back to see the mystery of the whole." —Wall Street Journal
"Messud’s eye for class distinctions and gender expectation is as sharp as ever...limned with Messud’s characteristic tart, cogently detailed realism...Messud takes a cool, detached tone, emphasizing the humor of her dilemmas" —Kirkus Reviews
"Sharp edges in just the right places, and glint with an insight that both cuts and beguiles." — Jonny Diamond, Editor in Chief, Lit Hub
"The author of The Emperor’s Children writes a slim novel about an ex-pat family in Australia via New York, where lies and self-deception mix." —Zibby Owens, Bookfluencer, Podcaster, Author, named “NYC's Most Powerful Book-fluencer” by New York magazine's Vulture
"I defy any reader to put this book down once you start it...A Dream Life is a comment on and an evisceration of privilege." —Jason Rice, Vol.1 Brooklyn
"Messud writes some of the most complex characters you’re likely to encounter in fiction, and this short novel demonstrates that skill in abundance." —Brooklyn Rail, BOOKS OF THE MONTH, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"The great Messud returns." —The Millions Most Anticipated
“Witty, arch and acutely observed, A Dream Life expertly captures the excruciating insecurities of class in our supposedly classless society.” —Geraldine Brooks, author, March and People of the Book