In this funny and heartbreaking novel, a man who has been bullied all his life, first by his parents, then by his wife and even by the students he teaches at university, learns to stand up for himself and take control of his own life.
Marvin's Novel is the story of Marvin Keselman, a man in search of himself, a man shackled, as are many of us, by his parents' expectations. They assume that Marvin will remain in New York City and be a doctor like his father and brother before him. But Marvin has other ideas and makes a break for it. He takes a teaching job at a university in Winnipeg, as far away from his parents as he can get, only to find himself periodically returning home to suffer their disapproval in person.
And in Winnipeg the naïve Marvin encounters the ultimate seductress, Myrna Berman. The wedding, organized by Myrna's funeral home director father, is a comedic tour de force featuring among other things, a deceitful rabbi, a missing ring, and a dead body. Life after marriage is fraught with new and unpleasant surprises and the situation is made even worse because Marvin's students are in revolt.
Buffeted on all sides Marvin merely strives to stay afloat but ironically it is only when things go from bad to worse and Marvin is hauled up before the university's kangaroo court on unfounded charges of racism that he understands that he can be the master of his own fate.
To Catch a Dream provides an intimate glimpse into the life of a sleep and dream researcher and offers a compelling portrait of the nature of sleep as well as insights into the function of dreams.
The mystery of dreaming has captured the imagination of playwrights, poets, courtiers and kings down through history. The earliest evidence we have of interest in dreams is found in Egyptian dream books written in about 2000 BC. They were essentially accounts of dream interpretation much like those found in the old and new testaments of the Bible when skilled dream interpreters like Joseph used dreams for prophetic purposes.
But it is only recently, within the last hundred years or so, that researchers have been able to show that sleep is a multifaceted entity with distinctly different phases and that it is during one of those phases, Rapid Eye Movement Sleep, that our dreams are most accessible to us.
As a direct result of that discovery, it has been possible to make inroads into our understanding of how a variety of waking and sleeping experiences can profoundly affect our dreams as well as the sleep cycle itself and ultimately to provide a basis for suggesting the manner in which dreams may play an adaptive role in both our sleeping and waking lives.