The Dream Mistress by Jenny Diski

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A sensual novel about companionship, heartache, and alienation. Mimi has the greatest difficulty staying awake; she nods off at the movies, during conversations with Jack, in the middle of a dinner party. She sleeps, apparently dream-free, partly escaping the demands of waking consciousness, partly submitting to the irresistible pull of "a veil of water-sodden grey mist." One cold winter night, Mimi discovers an unconscious bag lady huddled behind a London cinema. A sense of duty and curiosity prompts her to call an ambulance. Later that evening, after Jack walks out on her, Mimi withdraws to bed, wondering if the vagrant could have been someone she once knew. Could the old woman layered in filthy rags have been Leah, Mimi's abandoned and abandoning mother, in a former existence? Or perhaps it was Bella, a bomb-blast victim with a disfigured face, silenced and surgically reconstructed, but strangely and passionately loved by married Casanova. Then again, she might have been a nun, perverse and reclusive, and gifted with miraculous powers. Sensual and absorbing, "The Dream Mistress" is an intelligent novel about skepticism, love, and faith.

About Jenny Diski

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Jenny Diski’s previous nonfiction books include Skating to Antarctica and The Dream Mistress. Her most recent novel is Only Human. She lives in Cambridge, England.
Published May 13, 1996 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dream Mistress

Kirkus Reviews

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In truth, though, she’s Mimi’s mother, Leah, who, abandoned by her husband, in turn abandoned her child.

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The New York Times

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The named sections (''Mask,'' ''Bella'') are, I think, Mimi's ''unknown'' dreams about two other women, both also called Bella: the faceless survivor of a bomb blast who lives in a white room without mirrors (a dream version of Mimi herself?) and a speechless religious fanatic who abandons her pa...

Jan 10 1999 | Read Full Review of The Dream Mistress

Publishers Weekly

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Eventually, Mimi wonders if this could be her own mother, Leah, who abandoned Mimi in deep distress over her husband's desertion.

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