Plot/Idea: Wiley’s intriguing reimagining of Washington Irving’s classic tale gambols around Dreamland. Wiley is free to add in new elements to such a dreamscape: characters as various as Anubis, William Blake, and Morgan Le Fay, which makes for an entertaining read. However, the overall thrust of the narrative is lost as the reader is left wondering whose story this is: Rip’s or Deacon’s?
Prose: Wiley’s prose has an alluring fireside chat sensibility. His frequent addresses to the reader emulate the narrative style of tall tales about folk heroes like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan.
Originality: Wiley brings in several disparate ideas and threads them together to create a wholly original, inventive tale. However, his choice to include excerpts from Irving’s original text in the middle of his novel results in a bit of an unfavorable comparison.
Character Development/Execution: Deacon is the most likable character in the story; his perseverance on this quest to find Rip will resonate with readers. The subtitle of the tale is somewhat misleading; The True Story of Rip Van Winkle seems to suggest that Rip will be the lead and readers will follow his adventures. However, the titular character makes a quick appearance only to disappear and then reappear halfway through the novel.
Blurb: An inventive revisioning of Washington Irving’s 1819 classic Rip Van Winkle that explores the landscape of dreams. As Rip sleeps, he disrupts the creatures of Dreamland, most notably the faun lighthouse keeper Deacon, who must find Rip before he destroys the fabric of dreams.
Date Submitted: April 28, 2022