Sunday, June 24, 2012
Rec. #248: Lincoln's Dreams
What: A historical reasearcher meets a woman who seems to be having (despite the title) Robert E. Lee's nightmares. This early novel from multiple-award-winner Connie Willis shows that the author came right out of the gate ready to wrestle with big life/death questions while armed with fiercely detailed historical research.
Comparable to: Lincoln's Dreams pivots around the Civil War and dreams, while the two-volume Blackout/All Clear centers on World War II and time travel. Both, however, demonstrate Willis's skill at turning our history into a shared, visceral, adventurous experience.
Opening lines: "Traveller died of lockjaw two years after Robert E. Lee died. I looked that up one day in February, the day I went out to see where Abraham Lincoln's son Willie had been buried. I had been looking for the grave for over a year, and when I finally found it in a biography of Mary Todd Lincoln, I ran out of the library still carrying the book. It set off an alarm, and one of the librarians came out on the steps and shouted after me, 'Jeff, are you all right? Jeff!'"
You might not like it if: It is very likely that this book will break your heart. Sorry.
How to get it: Buyable, borrowable, Kindle-able
Connections to previous Wreckage: Connie Willis can break your heart, yes, but she can also do satirical social comedy (Bellwether, Rec. #218) and mindbogglingly intricate sci-fi realism (Blackout/All Clear, Gift Idea #1). Or she can do all three at once (To Say Nothing of the Dog, Rec. #100). Connie Willis can do whatever the heck she wants to, basically.