These Dreams of You - Steve Erickson What do Bobby Kennedy, David Bowie, James Joyce's Molly Bloom, President Obama, and MatthewMarkLuke&John have in common? Outside of this book, probably not much. If you had an acid-head friend with attention deficit who was also a gifted raconteur, his stories might come to you in this sort of fever-dream fashion. A little time travel, a few riffs and rants on politics, plagiarism, coincidence, race, religion, literature. A little incoherent rambling. And every once in awhile a shining jewel of truth. 2008. A white American family has adopted Sheba, an Ethiopian girl who is now four years old. Oh, and her body also happens to be a radio transmitter. Got that? So one day Viv, her turquoise-haired adoptive mom, ups and decides she's gotta go to Addis Ababa and find Sheba's biological mother. Meanwhile Zan, her adoptive father, is off to London with his 12-year-old son Parker. From here on out, it's anybody's guess where things will go. 1968. 1921. 1989. Berlin. Los Angeles. Paris. Nonlinear, present tense, by turns nonsensical and brilliant, occasionally hilarious. I should have hated this book, but I found it irritatingly irresistible. There are some similarities to Nicholas Christopher's A Trip to the Stars and Frederick Reiken's Day for Night in the way Erickson plays with degrees of separation, mystical connections, and the illusory nature of time and space. I had to consider the book in its entirety before I could see that it is Steve Erickson's love song to America, absent of all mawkishness or jingoism. We bicker and blame, canonize and then cannibalize our leaders, destroy our economy with impatience and greed. And yet, the America we've got is better than not. Erickson says it best in this passage from page 301: "It's a country that does things in lurches, but when the high altitude of the great leap -- of either faith or imagination, assuming one exists without the other -- has given way to the next morning's bends, the country peers around and wonders where it landed. Be that as it may, Zan can't relinquish his memory of the melody, can't bring himself to be unhaunted by it. There's no other song he believes in more or nearly as much. By the din of circumstance or the roar of other voices or some combination of them, in the void no one else sings anything else as true or worth singing. Zan's country always has belonged to the rest of the world's imagination more than its own, and sitting here in an airport three thousand miles away, he still hears the song around him, from London to the ruins of the Berlin barricade once built in a futile attempt to keep the song out."