This clever and ambitious novel leads the reader from a recognisable world, give or take a bit of magic, into a dreamscape littered with mythological, psychological and literary allusions. It is a coming of age novel, in that the protagonists, teenage cousins Bethany, Poppy and Rivalaun, come to a realisation of who they are and what they might become. Each is the child of one of three brothers, all of whom have supernatural powers. There are considerable tensions between the charismatic Poppy and the reflective, inhibited Bethany, and Rivalaun’s arrival does not calm these.
The story begins with the reading of the will of Bethany’s artist father, Felix. Her specific inheritance is one of Felix’s own paintings, a seemingly conventional landscape, which is the conduit into the dream kingdom through which each pilgrim cousin must find a way. Like all dreams nothing in this land is constant, and at times Lassiter is struggling to hold the dream aura without losing her reader in a slough of confusion. Divided throughout into a series of short chapters, the first half consists of entries from the journals of each of the cousins, and the second part, tracking their journey through the land of dream, is narrated in the third person, but holding the focus on each of the three. Meanwhile, through their journals, in which the story magically appears, the parents can see what is happening but are powerless to guide their children. This is a brave book: Lassiter has a many-layered story to tell, and she is not afraid to take risks with form and structure. A book for literary readers, they will enjoy, and perhaps feel challenged by its allegorical resonance and by the stanzas at the beginning of each chapter, drawn from a galaxy of British and Irish poets.