Undreamed by Paul Western-Pittard

Published by Paul Western-Pittard -Sept 2012)

Published by Paul Western-Pittard -Sept 2012)

Review by Helen Jackson. 

Undreamed is a dark psychological thriller that tells the tale of Alice, a woman trapped between reality and a dream.

Alice is trapped in a nightmare. She leads two lives, both real to her, both flawless in their logic and texture, both filled with people that she loves and hates. One of these is a dream. She has no way of knowing which. A borderline junkie-heiress in Manhattan, or a recovering psych patient in Sydney, when Alice sleeps in one life, she wakes into the other. 

Other than her own memory of them, her worlds are separate and seamless. In both her lives she tries to find clues to discover the root of her sickness, but nothing crosses over. She may as well be two completely different people. Caught in this impossible status quo, never able to bring herself to believe that the life she’s leading is true, Alice is trapped. Not believing either, she believes nothing. Then one day, her lives are fractured when something does cross over. First in Sydney then Manhattan, Alice meets a girl dressed in green. She knows this girl for what she is: the key to her escape. But as she unravels the girl’s secret, the realities of not one but both lives are challenged.

The question becomes: who is it that she’s really waking?

I had a few things planned for the day I started this, but once I read the first few pages, I had to put them on hold, because I couldn’t put it down. Literally. I started it in the morning, and other than eating and a pathetic attempt at cleaning the flat (for a viewing, oops), I read it until I finished it. It’s brilliant.

Each of Alice’s lives are so real you switch, with her, believing one, then the other, then back to the first is real. There’s so much detail in each, how could either be just a dream? Was this in fact some kind of fantasy/sci-fi novel where they are both real, but connected somehow? Or was one really a dream? Or could they both be a dream?

The story is told alternating chapter by chapter between New York Alice and Australian Alice. They’re told first person, present tense, which I love, because it means the read goes on the same path as the narrator. With each chapter, I changed who I hoped was real and who was a dream.

As the book progressed, I kept trying to guess what was going on, with crazy, out there ideas. None competed with the truth, which slowly, slowly comes to Alice.

The truth is chilling, but brilliant, and makes everything make sense. I’m tempted to read it again, knowing the truth, to see if there are hints throughout.

It’s brilliant. Honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I’ve read some books I’ve really, really enjoyed. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone.

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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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