The Dream Walker (Victoria Carless, Hachette)
In her debut novel, Victoria Carless explores isolation, hope and grief through the surreal and distortive lens of dreams. Sixteen-year-old Lucy Hart feels lost in the isolated fishing village of Digger’s Landing. It has been a year since the death of her mother, and even longer since the fish dried up, leaving the fishing families of the town without any significant income, food or hope. Lucy is hanging on to her plan to escape the town with her best friends Polly and Tom. But bit by bit, the threads of hope that anchor Lucy’s dream to reality start to fray, and she begins to discover the secrets of her family, her community and herself. The small fishing village of Digger’s Landing offers the perfect setting to explore the fractured community, and the growing paranoia within it. Lucy is a compelling character, in many ways naïve and hopeful, but with an inner strength and determination that comes from her own mysterious abilities and awareness of the vulnerabilities of those around her. If there is a fault with this beautifully written novel, it is that there are so many stories contained within it, and some of them could use more space to develop. Overall though, Carless’ voice is confident and perfectly captures the space between childhood and independence where dreams can be made or broken.
Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne-based writer, reviewer and manager of the Stella Schools Program