I Must Be Dreaming

Bloomsbury. Oct. 2023. 128p. ISBN 9781620403228. $27.99. MEMOIR
New Yorker cartoonist Chast (Going into Town) presents a wide-ranging and thoroughly charming exploration of her lifelong fascination with deciphering the dream world inside her mind at night. A survey of what Chast terms “Dream-Theory Land” reveals what various scholars, religious texts, and civilizations since the beginning of recorded history have had to say about why humans dream and how those dreams should be interpreted. Rather than avowing allegiance to any existing idea or attempting to cook up a conclusion of her own, though, Chast embraces the mystery of human consciousness, using vividly illustrated recreations of her own dreams and nightmares to ponder the differences between her conscious and subconscious selves and to discern how dreams influence her creative process. Chast alternates sequences of panel-to-panel storytelling with unexpected blocks of hand-scrawled text or dynamically rendered illustrations that bleed between pages to create a palpable sense of her enthusiasm for the subject.
VERDICT Truly fascinating, frequently hilarious, and not to be missed.
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