Dreamer (Paperback)

By Charles Johnson

Scribner Book Company, 9780684854434, 240pp.

Publication Date: February 2, 1999

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Description

From the National Book Award-winning author of Middle Passage, a fearless fictional portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his pivotal moment in American history.

Set against the tensions of Civil Rights era America, Dreamer is a remarkable fictional excursion into the last two years of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, when the political and personal pressures on this country's most preeminent moral leader were the greatest. While in Chicago for his first northern campaign against poverty and inequality, King encounters Chaym Smith, whose startling physical resemblance to King wins him the job of official stand-in. Matthew Bishop, a civil rights worker and loyal follower of King, is given the task of training the smart and deeply cynical Smith for the job. In doing so, Bishop must face the issue of what makes one man great while another man can only stand in for greatness. Provocative, heartfelt, and masterfully rendered, Charles Johnson confirms yet again that he is one of the great treasures of modern American literature.

Dr. Charles Johnson is a novelist, screenwriter, essayist, professional cartoonist and the Pollock Professor of English at the University of Washington. He is the author of more than sixteen books, including the PEN/Faulkner nominated story collection The Sorcerer's Apprentice and the novel Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award.


Praise For Dreamer

Dennis McFarland
The New York Times Book Review

It's a joy to read fiction in which there is a cultivated vision at work...the greatest victory of Dreamer is the light it shines on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.


Andy Solomon
The Boston Globe

With compelling profundity and power Johnson takes us to a time, one within living memory, when a "dreamer" among us saw love as our redemptive principle and strongest weapon before he "died for our collective racial sins."


Patricia Holt
San Francisco Chronicle

With his novelist's instinct, [Johnson] grips us immediately with a stunning doppelgänger theme.


John Marshall
Seattle Weekly

A deep look at the last two crisis years in the life of [King]...Johnson is an ambitious writer who is not satisfied with merely creating...passages of imagined thinking, however powerfully rendered.


Bruce Barcott
The Seattle Times

Masterfully rendered set piece...writing so assured and compelling...even when you already know the ending.

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