Dream Sequence notices everything ... Description is intimate and visceral, scratching at the glossy surface of the lives of the characters and underpinning the 'vacuum' they move through, together but apart ... This is a novel of screens, of echoes and constant counterpoint, driven by changes in light as much as its reflective plot where matters of 'acting' are paramount ... [a] shimmering novel.
An exquisitely concocted, riveting account of artistic ambition and unrequited love verging on obsession ... Foulds introduces a note of gentle satire, particularly in the overblown way that film people talk about their own essentially vainglorious projects, and in their convoluted complicity with regimes such as Qatar ... despite Henry’s many obvious flaws, Foulds frames him carefully, so that his story becomes urgent: he isn’t an empty-headed luvvie but someone engaged in that most modernist mission — the quest for himself. There’s an oddity about the timings of the plot — a letter delivered much later than I thought it had been — which lends the whole a dreamy sheen. Are we all dreaming? And what happens when we wake? ... Foulds is proving himself to be a versatile writer of intelligence and charm. Dream Sequence is a relatively slim affair; one finishes the book wishing the dream were longer.
Dream Sequence, incisively well-written and alluringly readable is, among other things, a really good London novel. Adam Foulds is acutely sensitive to shifting environments, conveying them brilliantly with few words. This prose is truly poetic, being concise, not impasto ... this novel also moves like a thriller, as these different vacancies, Henry and Kristin, collide in their desires. A terrific book about the realities and delusions of fame distorting the way we live now: not to be missed.
[A] mordantly clever story about fame, fantasy and narcissism. The premise is deliciously funny ... a novel with many subtle echoes and recurring images – butterflies, a drowning dog, a plastic Spider-Man figure – that all have a symbolic value. It doesn’t have the poetic intensity of The Quickening Maze, Foulds’s Booker-shortlisted study of the poet John Clare; in tone, it has more in common with his witty debut, The Truth About These Strange Times. There’s an appealing satirical edge to Foulds’s portraits, though he writes with a psychological precision and a deep knowledge of the acting world. We are invested in Henry and Kristen’s struggles but we also see how absurd they are sub specie aeternitatis ... Slice him where you like, Foulds is a very fine writer. Dream Sequence might be a minor entertainment but it fizzes with wit – a book you can read in one enjoyable gulp.
On the surface, Dream Sequence couldn’t be more different to Foulds’ past work ... an utterly contemporary novel concerned with fame, social media, success, failure and obsession ... But where there is a similarity is in the way Foulds once again brings his psychological acuity to bear on characters bound within claustrophobic lives that they long to escape ... The sections on Henry in particular bring to mind Don DeLillo’s shorter, pared down novels ... [a] lucid, richly detailed and tense novel.
Given Foulds’s urge towards unpredictability, it’s no surprise to find that his new novel, Dream Sequence, launches out in yet another direction ... What is surprising, and disappointing, is that it is by far the feeblest thing Foulds has written ... sadly devoid of tension or drama. eagrely characterised, its central figures are so lacking in substance that the story is about as gripping as an empty glove. Kristin remains a virtual cipher. Henry is never filled out much beyond the cliché of the narcissistic actor ... for the most part, the novel is slackly put together. Its story drifts in and out of locales peopled with fleetingly seen characters. Plot lines oddly sputter out. Themes of celebrity and image vaguely float around. Haziness persists ... a powerful talent seems to have lapsed into near sleep-mode.
For the first time since his debut novel, Foulds has turned his keen attention to the present day, and the result is a book whose “thriller” label comes less from plot and more from the deepening unsettlement as Foulds turns the lights up on the derangements, both mundane and catastrophic, that drive both Henry and Kristin. As always with Foulds, though, the real star here is the writing, a delight at the smallest levels and the larger, pinning down with a kind of otherworldly skill at observation the lengths to which people will go for acceptance ... An incisive and disquieting look at the consequences of fame.