Cover image for Thief of dreams
Thief of dreams
Yount, John, 1935-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1991.
Physical Description:
227 pages ; 22 cm
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Reviews 4

Booklist Review

As a young boy comes of age amid the mountains of North Carolina in the late 1940s, his parents reckon with timeless issues of responsibility, obligation, and love. After Madeline and Edward Tally separate, 13-year-old James and his mother return to his grandparents' farm on the outskirts of an obscure rural outpost. While Madeline and Edward reevaluate their marital commitment, James attempts to establish his individuality and attain his manhood by enduring the harsh elements of nature during a solitary sojourn in the wilderness. A sensitive examination of the intimate ties that bind a family and salvage disintegrating relationships. ~--Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Yount's carefully wrought, quietly affecting novel explores the bonds of parenthood, the pain of a divorcing couple and the emotional confusion of their son, 13 years old in 1948. Her unhappy marriage a succession of trailer parks and lonely nights, Madeline Tally leaves her boozing, ne'er-do-well construction-worker husband Edward, and returns with son James to her parents' farm in North Carolina. Announcing her intention to divorce, newly liberated Madeline falls for a small-town lawyer who offers legal help. But her headstrong, philandering husband wants a reconciliation. James, torn by these events and driven by guilt after a school chum who defended him in a brawl is hospitalized, runs off into the woods. Communing with an imaginary guiding spirit, Seminole Indian chief Osceola, James subjects himself to a life-threatening ordeal in order to prove his self-worth. Yount ( Toots in Solitude ) advances the narrative from the three Talleys' perspectives, getting inside each character's mind in a generous and thoroughly convincing manner. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This novel by the author of Hardcastle (St. Martin's, 1984) and Toots in Solitude ( LJ 1/84) is what a plain-writing William Faulkner might have done. Madeline Tally has gone back in a trailer to her parents' hill farm in 1948 North Carolina with her 13-year-old son James after leaving her drunken, wandering husband, Edward. But running away is not enough, and both Madeline and Edward find that absence still makes the heart grow fonder. This confounds James, who, in turn, runs away to confront nature, thinking it simpler, only to run afoul of its impersonality. All learn which dreams, or feelings, are to be taken seriously, which kept in their place. The narrative technique recalls Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, while James's maturation by confronting nature, along with vivid hunting and fishing scenes, evokes Go Down, Moses. Warm, human; recommended in its own right.-- Kenneth Mintz, formerly with Bayonne P.L., N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-- Set in the mountains of North Carolina in 1948, Yount's novel focuses on the dissolvement of a family unit. Madeline, unable to cope with a failing marriage, returns to her parents' home in rural North Carolina with her son, 13-year-old Jamie. Thief of Dreams is the boy's coming-of-age story amidst powerful emotions that surround the many facets of his parents' separation. When Jamie, like the hero of his favorite Indian story, goes into the forest to seek a test of manhood, his parents reevaluate their life, and future, together. --Carol Clark, R. E. Lee High Sch . , Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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