Of all of the characters in the novel, it was Robert E Lee that resonated with me the most. Things that didn't work for me this time around: 1) A number of the characters felt a little thin to me. If Jeff were really doing all this Civil War research for his own boss Broun, he should have been bowled over by this coincidence - or at least acknowledged it. (view spoiler)Though OK, it's kind of clever when you look at the fact that Traveller's original name was Jefferson Davis, and the protagonist is Jeff, and as he says in the end, he is sold to Annie (the Lee stand-in) in a way, which gives the ending further echoes.
(Certain childrens novels excepted.) The whole book almost feels like a warm-up for Passage, and if this is what Willis needed to get out of her system in order to write that book, fine, because Passage is amazing.
Perhaps it's just that I don't find anything about the Civil War particularly compelling. The main character is a researcher for a man who writes novels about the Civil War. He meets a young woman who is having the dreams of Robert E. The plot itself was sketchy, and there were odd inserts of sections of a book that the civil war author in the novel had supposedly written which foreshadowed happenings in the lives of the characters.
I read this many years ago, my copy is from 1992 and back then I didnt have money to buy books and then never get around to reading them the way I do now.
On GoodReads most of the reviewers love Connie Willis but few seem to love Lincoln's Dreams. I've read six of her other novels, five of them part of the Oxford time travel series, and all were entertainingly brilliant. The story begins with Broun, a successful writer of Civil War fiction and his researcher Jeff. As the story develops she tells Jeff that her problems are her dreams.
I enjoyed this book throughout it; and I liked the characters and the storyline just enough to keep reading through the night, until it was finished. I have NO idea what happened to Annie at the end, and then Jeff's announcement at the end was confusing to me, and the novel or author didn't elucidate.
So he invites Jeff's old college roommate, Richard, a dream researcher and physician, to a reception. When Annie tells him of the odd dreams that have been plaguing her, things get even stranger - because all the historical details are correct... Great use of literary parallelism - with the plot of one of Broun's novels, historical details of the Civil War, and 'current' events all reflecting off each other...
Lee. I assumed any self-aware book written in the twentieth century wouldn't romanticise the bad guys, and even I know the Confederates are the bad guys. (view spoiler) I am also baffled that Jeff's character bought in so quickly to Annie's theory that she is dreaming a dead man's dreams. I'm also really disappointed in Willis, whose 'To Say Nothing of the Dog' remains in my top five favourite books, for letting the hero Jeff having rape-y thoughts about Annie.
Well, Traveller actually redeemed the book. I caught on to the sentiment and shed a brief tear at the end, but it could have been told much better. By the end I didn't care at all about Annie.
Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). These pieces include her Hugo Award-winning novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog and the short story "Fire Watch," found in the short story collection of the same name.