Listening Library, 2006. Unabridged book on cd. Narrated by Anne Twomey. (Disclosure: borrowed from the library.)
According to Merriam-Webster Online, there are two definitions for gossamer. The first is cobwebs floating on air and the second is something light, delicate and insubstantial. Gossamer is light and delicate, however, it is anything but insubstantial.
Littlest One is learning to become a dream-giver. She's the bright, inquisitive and enthusiastic apprentice to Fastidious, a rigid, curmudgeon who soon requests a transfer because she can't deal with Littlest One's constant questions and her energy. Thin Elderly is much better suited to nurturing Littlest One's talents. Together, the two collect memory fragments to bestow sweet dreams on first, a lonely old woman, then later a troubled eight-year-old boy she agrees to foster. The boy, John, is angry at the world, but gradually relaxes under the gentle, patient care of the old woman and with the help of some healing dreams. Unfortunately, Sinisteeds, makers of nightmares have targeted the boy. They force him to relive some pretty horrific abuse inflicted on him by his father and witnessed by his mother.
Anne Twomey's narration is perfectly lovely. I am not sure that I would have loved this book as much as I do had I read it with my eyes instead of my ears. She gave the characters unique voices and her pacing was as gentle as the story required. I do want to read through the book though to revisit all the lovely little moments of descriptive perfection.
This is a special book for a special reader. It's subtle and deep. While it seems like a gentle read, the violence that was inflicted on John caused me to gasp more than once. I'm hesitant to suggest that it be taught. But it is one that begs to be discussed - perhaps by a mother-daughter book club.