Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Overheard In A Dream by Torey Hayden

I am so glad that I always seem to be ended up with good books from the library. This was no different. It was rather a wild card as I was not familiar with the author and never heard of the title. I just took a risk as I thought the synopsis was rather promising although rather heavy with child autism as the main subject but the front cover of the little boy peeping from behind the wall looks rather endearing.

Torey Hayden is a child psychiatrist and a special education teacher turned full time writer. Most of her other books are actually non fictions based on the cases of children that she worked with over the years. Perhaps that’s why it shouldn’t surprise me that Overheard In A Dream is so mind-boggling! I actually found it hard to start this book and was thinking of returning it to the library to exchange it with another title. Am I glad I didn’t make that mistake. Once I actually got started, I realised that I can’t put it down! It was that good.


Conor, aged nine, arrives in the play therapy room of child psychiatrist James Innes with the diagnosis "autistic". His mother Laura, an aloof, enigmatic novelist, can't handle him. His rancher father, embroiled in divorcing Laura, does not feel there is anything wrong with Conor. His six year old sister Morgana insists he really does see ghosts. As James becomes convinced Conor is not autistic, he is drawn first into Conor's strange world of "things the cat knows" and then into Morgana's stories of her friend the "Lion King". James is pulled most deeply, however, into Laura's world; at first that of a lonely, rather difficult woman and then, eventually, into the world of her imagination, an enthralling world that seems almost real - and that hides a terrible secret.

While the writing is straight forward, the story is not. It is a rather interesting exploration of the human mind and what it’s capable of. I can’t share much without spoiling the story for those who have not read it. This book is all about family drama, psychotic thriller and even science fiction if you believe that ‘The Forest’ is real. That’s all I can say. The ending actually stunned me! I didn't expect it at all, although I should have probably made the connection earlier from the many clues found throughout the book. I find myself keep thinking of the story even though I completed it quite sometimes back.
I don't think I've ever had such a reaction quite like this one to a novel before. This is one of the few non fictions written by the author. If you happen to pick up a copy and undecided if you should read it, let me decide for you - Yes, Read It!

While I have no impression of Torey Hayden when I first read this, you can probably tell that I am in awe of her now!

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