Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: The Dream Woman by Wilkie Collins

shortstoriesOriginal Publication Date: 1909 (in The Lock and Key Library, ed. by Julian Hawthorne)

Genre: short story

Topics: pick ups gone wrong, bad girls, alcoholism, murder, dreams, marriage





Review by Chrisbookarama:

The Dream Woman of Wilkie Collins story is not an angelic creature. Nope. She’s of the nightmare variety.

The Dream Woman is told in 4 parts by 3 different narrators. We are introduced to the story by Percy Fairbanks, who comes upon a groom named Francis while searching for someone to take care of his lame horse. Percy’s wife is intrigued by the man, who appears to be fighting off unseen demons. Since they’ve got time to kill, Mrs Fairbanks persuades Francis to unload his burden and tell her his troubles. It all starts with a dream…

Many years ago, while seeking employment, Francis spends a night at an inn where he has a dream that he’s being murdered by a beautiful woman. The very next year to the day, his birthday no less, he meets a mysterious woman wandering around the streets of his town at night all alone. Of course he instantly falls madly in love with the stranger, but there is something oddly familiar about her. I won’t say any more, but I think you can see where this is headed.

The Dream Woman is subtitled A Mystery in Four Narratives. There’s not much mystery though. It’s more of a tale of what happens when you pick up strangers. The dream woman is a bad girl through and through. She’s rather one note. There’s no explanation for her behaviour, she just is what she is.

The other important woman in this story, Mrs Fairbanks, is much more interesting character and we barely hear from her. It’s because of her that we hear Francis’s story and her pity that drives the plot to the end. However, it’s Percy who tells their part of the story and he has the irritating habit of winking at the reader with a, “Women! Am I right married guys?” Shut up, Percy.

The Dream Woman is a warning to dudes. Bad girls, stay away from them or they’ll make your life hell!

The Dream Woman appears in the Lock and Key Collection mentioned by Tasha in her review of The Lost Duchess.

Download The Dream Woman by Wilkie Collins at Project Gutenberg| Librivox