The Dream Walker

The Dream Walker
Written by Victoria Carless
Contemporary, Magical Realism, #LoveOzYA
256 Pages
Published June 27th 2017
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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★★★☆
The weight of a secret can drag you under.

Sixteen year old Lucy Hart has been counting the days till she can get the hell out of Digger's Landing, a small Queensland fishing hamlet home to fifteen families, a posse of mongrel dogs and Parkers Corner Store. No apostrophe and nowhere near a corner.

But just like the tides, Lucy's luck is on the turn, and as graduation nears her escape plans begin to falter, her best friend, Polly, is dropping out of school to help pay the bills, and Tom has been shipped off to boarding school, away from the flotsam of this place. And then there's Lucy's nightlife, which is filled with dreams that just don't seem to belong to her at all...

When the fish stop biting, like they did when her mum was still around, Lucy realises she isn't the only one with a secret.
Digger's Landing is a barren landscape of decrepit dwellings, residents livelihoods flowing with the tides of the local creek that sustains the small coastal town. Sixteen year old Lucy Hart is grieving for her spontaneous and spirited mother, her body salvaged from the water forsaking those she leaves behind. Lucy walks among the subconscious minds of slumbering Digger's Landing residents, observing their aspirations and desires sharing a prevailing theme. Lucy's mother.

Digger's Landing is an underprivileged socioeconomic community in Far North Queensland and sustained by the local creek. Lucy and her widowed father are residents of the predominantly Australian and Indigenous Australian community, where the emphasis is placed upon labour of the land rather than education in order to support those living in impoverished conditions. Lucy aspires to leave Digger's Landing, displaced since the suicide of her mother while her father is disengaged. The relationship between Lucy and her father is constrained and Lucy feels progressively isolated.

I enjoyed the friendship between Lucy and friend Polly, a wonderful young lady who is believed to be Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander. While Lucy continues her education, Polly abandons school to financially support her family. Mutual friend Tom is an interesting character and potential love interest for Lucy. Comparatively, all three adolescents experience the burden of parental expectations of varying degrees.

The magical realism elements were captivating. Since a car accident months prior, Lucy has been able to walk among the dreamers of Digger's Landing as a bystander. It's through the subconscious minds of others where she is able to see her mother, a woman who had a profound effect on the small coastal community. The narrative also explores impoverishment, suicide, environmental sustainability and parental neglect. Often confronting whilst challenging the privilege of readers.

The rural location was breathtaking and incredibly atmospheric, although I found the narrative languished at times and was disappointed the Indigenous Australian aspect wasn't further explored. The Dream Walker is a confident and enchanting debut novel from a fresh and wonderful new voice in Australian young adult literature.

11 comments

  1. You have been reviewing really interesting books! Thanks for bringing them all to my attention!

    For What It's Worth

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    1. It's been mostly Aussie young adult Karen, but amazing how it's so wonderfully varied. Really enjoyed this one, incredibly atmospheric.

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  2. This sound interesting. Definitely put in my TBR list :)
    and your blog is beautiful! :D

    Fatina| www.theinfinitywords.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Fatina, really looking forward to seeing what you think of it too!

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  3. wow.. love the cover and the theme ^_^ yah you do pick good books to read

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    1. I was so excited to read this one Ailyn. The writing is beautiful, so compassionate but with a touch of that unique Australianess.

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  4. What an interesting debut novel. It;s a little disappointing more wasn't explored in regards to the indigenous Australian aspect but as a debut novel, and a book that already appears to be exploring a lot of different things I think it can be forgiven. I love the magical realism aspect of dreamwalking and it adds a unique aspect to this book so I definitely want to check it out.

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    1. The magical realism is really lovely Becky and I loved how it was incorporated as a way for Lucy to connect to her late mother, through others who also cherished her.

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  5. i did not expect the magical realism in the story, it's an element I've never been completely comfortable with. I just find it hard to get into, hm. I really do love the plot of this story, though sighs. sO much to think about here.

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    1. I often feel the same Verushka but so happy to share how well written the magical realism aspects were, it added another layer to what was a captivating storyline.

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  6. This one was such an interesting book, but I felt emotionally distanced from it all. It was also a bit vague at times. I'd really like to reread it in the future though, I think it's one of those books that you'll pick more up from from multiple rereads. Maybe. I also kind of liked the magical realism aspect, though I barely touch on that in my review. Thanks for sharing! :D

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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