The Dream Room

The Dream Room

Marcel Möring

‘Into its 120 pages, Möring folds a war memoir, a family psychodrama and a meditation on time and memory. It is a miracle of compression: everything is significant…one races through it, eager to discover the heart of the mystery.’ Guardian

The story of a family – mother, father (ex-World War II pilot), twelve-year-old son David – who live above a toy shop in a small town on the windswept Dutch coast.

On the same day that David finds himself listening to the toy shop owner complaining that he can’t sell model aeroplane kits any more because kids nowadays are too lazy to glue all the pieces together, David’s father quits his job in a fit of pique and pride. A few hours later, his mother comes home, having left her job too.

So, David devises a plan – and before the day is over the whole family is at home, putting model aeroplanes together. A wonderful, perfect summer ensues, suddenly interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected visitor, his father’s old friend from the war. His arrival revives old feelings of loyalty, love and hatred – and ensures that nothing will ever return to a perfect state again.

Accessible, warm, funny and wise, this novel was a massive bestseller in Möring’s native Holland. A gem of a story, it has the fable-like appeal of a “Miss Garnet’s Angel” (but without the middle-Englandness) or of Bernard Schlink’s “The Reader” (but without the heavy moral overtone).The book is most reminiscent of J.L. Carr’s “A Month in the Country”, the Booker Prize-winning English novel set just after World War I, heavy with nostalgia, evocative, melancholy.

Reviews of The Dream Room

    • ‘With a winning lightness of touch, Möring pinpoints that cusp of adolescence when a child begins to wake up to what he is, feeling “the first nudge in the back that later becomes the rhythm of life itself, grown-up life”, and to apprehend the multi-layered pasts that have made his parents what they are. “The Dream Room” effortlessly weaves the freshness of a child’s perspective with the wisdom of recollection.’ Guardian
    • ‘An astonishing book. Elegant and mesmerising. Möring at his tender, funny best.’ The Times
    • ‘A poignant, mysteriously powerful novel.’ Daily Telegraph
    • ‘Very impressive – light, airy and deliciously understated.’ Time Out