Green Monkey Dreams, by Isobelle Carmody

I ride this day upon the Worldroad, alone, except for courage, who rides on the pommel of my saddle fluffing his feathers. I did not dream of journeying thus as a child.

Reading an Isobelle Carmody story is a special experience, an experience which doesn’t end with the last word. The stories in Green Monkey Dreams, first published in 1996, are diverse in subject matter and theme, but each story takes the reader in a tight grip then squeezes, making you stop and consider what is real, and leaving you pondering reality, values, even life itself long after.

In the title story, which is also the last story in the book, for example, a girl dreams of dreaming, in layer upon layer of dream so that it is impossible to tell which, if any, version is reality. In ‘Long Live the Giant’ the protagonist shares her discoveries about the meaning of life and, importantly, death, having been given the chance of immortality.

The stories are each different, set in fantastical worlds and differing time periods, but some motifs do recur, particularly the image of a tower in a graveyard, said to be the burial site of a giant whoes arm pointed skywards in death and so was covered by a tower. Angels and monkeys are also mentioned more than once, and tales and characters from traditional fairy stories are used.

Suitable for young adult and adult readers, this is a collection best enjoyed one story at a time, as each story needs time to be processed and appreciated.

Green Monkey Dreams

Green Monkey Dreams, by Isobelle Carmody
This edition Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742379470

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