Mr. Galaxy’s Unfinished Dream by R García Vázquez
Published on October 31, 2017 by Spinning World Press
When Callie is whisked away to Paris for two weeks by her affluent and subtly contemptuous mother and sister–before the newlyweds have had a chance to settle into their new life together–Lucas Amado, a distracted working class romantic and part-time graduate student, is overwhelmed by doubt and a sense of foreboding.
Into the breach steps Marla Tupo, a cheerful and attractive, though at times mystifying older woman he meets at his new job. What at first appears to be a harmless affinity between a disillusioned and conflicted young man, and a sympathetic middle-aged divorcée, soon deteriorates into a complicated mutual dependence that leads to devastating consequences.
Lucas tells the story of his desperate battle to save his marriage, family and sanity. Unexpected events over the course of three and a half years, between 1977 and 1980, drive him across real and imagined borders, both at home and abroad, where the lines between reality and dream, and belief and unbelief, are often blurred, and where saints, psychopaths, and everyday people invite glimpses into the darkness and light of the human mind and heart.
Throughout his exhausting odyssey the young husband and father faces choices and perils he could never have imagined, and encounters, through the most unlikely of circumstances, his moment of truth and self-discovery.
I’m not sure how to describe this book other than “delicious hipster lit fic fever dream,” which seems to hit all the high points.
I love books like this. Vázquez’s writing is utterly captivating and often closer to poetry than prose. It’s writing to sink into, and I enjoyed the sheer texture of the words about as much as the story itself. Mr. Galaxy’s Unfinished Dream is an exploration of life, death, love, and guilt through the eyes of the main character, Lucas Amado, blurring the borders between reality, imagination, and dreams. Like I said, fever dream: vivid and shiny, familiar yet strange, faintly confusing but so pretty you don’t really care.
The ending, unfortunately, went sailing directly over my head.
I mean, I saw the themes, I understood the character development, but the last couple of chapters really felt like they were leading up to something that the final few pages just didn’t deliver. It’s a case of literary it’s-not-you-it’s-me – maybe on a future reread things will snap into focus and I’ll feel like a dunce for not getting it the first time, but until then, that’s where I’m at.
Regardless, I enjoyed every second of the trip even if the destination left me a little lost, and I still highly recommend this book to lovers of Lauren Groff, Ramona Ausubel, and dreamy literary fiction in general.