My freshman English Comp. T.A. at U of M was writing her Masters’ thesis on the Arthurian legends. I read more stories about King Arthur, Merlin and the Round Table that semester than I ever thought could have existed. Our class read ancient and modern texts and got to see the evolution of the story over time. Luckily myths, fables and fairytales are timeless. A gifted storyteller can reinvent a story told for millennia and make it fresh and new. Dream Angus is one such re-telling. It is a novella by Alexander McCall Smith about Angus, the Celtic god of dreams.
McCall Smith juxtaposes the story of Angus’s life next to five modern stories that correspond to Angus’s life stages and also show how the ancient god can still weave his way into a contemporary life. McCall Smith illustrates the story well and gives you a good understanding of this god about whom I knew nothing before. As you are learning about the story of Angus’s parents, you also get a modern love story, and then when you learn about Angus’s brother, McCall Smith tells you a story about two 20th century Scottish brothers, and so on. In each of these stories, the God of Dreams makes his presence known to the readers, if not the protagonists.
Not only was it fun to learn about an ancient god who was new to me, I also found these little modern vignettes really tantalizing. They were very short little stories and each almost ended too quickly, making the reader beg for just a little more detail or closure. I guess you could call them fun little sketches of how Angus still touches lives today.
This is a quick, entertaining book that you can finish in an hour or two. Here's a nice little video of Alexander McCall Smith talking about the book.