The Dreamlife of Bridges

by Robert Strandquist
ISBN: 1895636469

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A Review of: The Dreamlife of Bridges
by W.P. Kinsella

Disjointed' would be a one-word summary of this novel that introduces a number of quirky, interesting characters, but never seems to know what to do with them once they've been created. Set in Vancouver, Leo and June are the main characters running on a primarily parallel course that we expect to eventually intersect permanently, but that expectation is never met. Leo is fortyish. The main burden he carries is that his son died at 20. He creates his own misery. He is fired from one job for general incompetence, loses another because he refuses to take a turn working night shift like everyone else. He ends up homeless. June is an unstable single mother. Violent, a drinker, a druggie, she loses custody of her son after assaulting a social worker, though there were extenuating circumstances. There are a number of eccentric denizens of a rooming house where Leo sometimes stays, including a woman in hoop skirts who keeps geese in her room. June occasionally promotes and invests in penny stocks working for a truly smarmy stock promoter, a professional loser named Kaslikoff. She doesn't appear intelligent enough for this sort of work. There is an enlightening chapter where June's horrific mother visits from England and we see why June is such an emotional wreck. The characters, although sometimes fascinating, just don't come together in any meaningful way. One reason is that no one is likable, not even June's child, who has the terrifying name of Gunther. These are not lovable losers. I wanted to say to each of them Stop feeling sorry for yourself, grow a backbone, and get a life.'

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