The Patron Saint of Dreams by Philip Gerard

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Meet the characters of essayist Philip Gerard's world: a misguided sailor and his crew of rowdy teenage boys, an ancient nun, a nurse who believes the government has been secretly spreading bubonic plague, a park ranger, jaded baseball players, a voice on a VHF radio far out to sea, a family of itinerant Mexicans camping dangerously in a dry riverbed, a famous alcoholic writer, a few inexplicable ghosts. Gerard's true stories are shot through with the uncanny and the mysterious. They are not quiet interior contemplations but instead are full of public events, remarkable encounters, and life-and-death moments that reveal and deepen the mysteries of our lives.

The Patron Saint of Dreams is a collection of 15 narrative essays that collectively address events in the world through the lens of personal experience, moments when seemingly small decisions have large consequences: enduring the terror of a direct hit by a hurricane, hiking through bear country and suffering a heart attack, hearing a disturbing secret from an old sailor who has kept it for 60 years, discovering an imposter who maintains his dual life long after death. Told by one of the South's most acclaimed and masterful nonfiction writers, these are the stories we live, and the lovely and terrible people who live them with us.

About Philip Gerard

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Philip Gerard chairs the Department of Creative Writing (BFA and MFA) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and is co-editor of the literary journal Chautauqua. He has published three books on the art of the personal essay and two novels. Gerard has served as writer in residence at Old Dominion University in Virginia and has taught at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Published February 27, 2012 by Hub City Press. 200 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Patron Saint of Dreams

Kirkus Reviews

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constant, too, are notes on the manifold ways in which people get caught up in events, yielding those hortatory and I-know-something-you-don’t turns—e.g., “Let me tell you about the daughter of another soldier…There is no need for you to know her name.” The best pieces in the book—and there are s...

Jan 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Patron Saint of Dreams

Publishers Weekly

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Reading Gerard's well-crafted first essay collection is like spending time with an easygoing yet erudite uncle, with whom you're happy to sit around on the front porch on "lazy afternoons…drinking beers and [speculating]" on all manner of personal and historical oddments and occurrences.

Feb 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Patron Saint of Dreams

Star News Online

Philip Gerard is a solid, professional, mainstream novelist, best known in these parts for "Cape Fear Rising," his 1994 historical epic about the 1898 Wilmington race riot.

Mar 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Patron Saint of Dreams

Southern Lit Review

His inspired choices in structuring the stories and the selection of not just a correct word, but the best word, make these essays shine like bits of sea glass scattered among billions of grains of sand.

Jan 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Patron Saint of Dreams

The Beaufort Gazette

ultimately, for me, this story is about navigating that treacherous middle ground ...

Apr 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Patron Saint of Dreams

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