Monday 17 January 2011

Review: Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the first book I decided to tackle in my self -set Myth Series Challenge. There were lots of reasons why I decided to read Dream Angus first. For starters, I am a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and enjoy his style of writing, therefore I was hoping to enjoy this book, and I wasn't disappointed. Also, I am, as my profile would indicate, 'into' dreams. Having them, pursuing them, interpreting them... and so I also had a personal interest in reading this book.

So. Dream Angus is the Celtic God of dreams, love, and youth. The traditional story is that he fell in love with a woman who came to him in his dreams. When she would not stay with him, night after night, he stopped eating and made himself ill, until his worried parents started a search for her. Eventually, they found her, but it turned out that the girl, Caer, (also the Celtic goddess of love) had a problem, in that she turned into a swan every other year, and Angus must overcome this to be with her.

In Alexander McCall Smith's retelling, he has interspersed the story of Angus with modern stories of love and dreams. My favourite quote from the book was actually in the Introduction, when McCall Smith says that "Angus... represents youth, and the intense passionate love that we might experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up. Age and experience might make us sombre and cautious, but there is always Angus within us - Angus the dreamer". As I love mythology in general, I really enjoyed reading a story that I had not previously known, and thought the way that it had been redeveloped was very engaging. I really enjoyed the style of the book, as it was very lightweight and easy to read: I finished it in an hour...

Rating ****

Next up: Baba Yaga Laid an Egg...

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