The Faculty of Dreams
Translated into English by Deborah Bragan-Turner
LONGLISTED for the Booker International Prize 2019
WINNER of the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2007
The narrative in The Faculty of Dreams revolves around Valerie Solanas, the sixties icon famous for writing the ultra-feminist manifesto SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) and who later shot and seriously injured Andy Warhol.
In the novel’s fictious background story, the author visits Valerie Solanas at the end of her life in the hotel in a red-light district in San Francisco where Solanas was residing when she died in April 1988. Sara Stridsberg mixes documentary material and free fiction in a feverishly vibrant prose which finds Valerie Solanas permanently on the verge of disaster, a prodigy who simultaneously mirrors and distorts the stories that constitute her world.
"Stridsberg infuses her protagonist with epic, tragic brilliance . . . As Valerie's life unfolds in a blur of expectations and disappointment--predatory men, particularly, lurk at every stage of the story--her anarchism is humanized, without losing its teeth. Valerie is dangerous, and the text's flights of anger and illogic preserve that spikiness . . . Interweaving theory-speak with the more private music of Valerie's mind, Stridsberg finds a fresh expression of the truism that the personal is political." - The New Yorker
“Inventive and stimulating . . . As each new piece of Stridsberg’s portrait of Valerie is added, it alters the big picture, provocatively. The novel is as much about how little one can understand other people as it is about Valerie’s life. Stridsberg entertainingly casts new light on both Solanas and on how society views pop culture.” – Publishers Weekly
“Brilliant, multi-layered, thrilling . . . a burning love letter with icy observation at its core.” – Svenska Dagbladet
“With [THE FACULTY OF DREAMS], Stridsberg proved that she is among the finest authors of contemporary Nordic literature.” – Aftenposten
“Urgent and poetic . . . fascinating literature.” – Bayerischer Rundfunk
“Opening this book, the reader rips opens its very skin. Like it or not, you will see the thrilling spectacle, the muscles and bone, of a vibrant, living text….This text of rare strength unleashes an irresistible seduction." – Le Monde
“Impressive and bewitching, THE FACULTY OF DREAMS is unquestionably one of the revelations of the publishing season.” – Le Nouveau Magazine Littéraire
“This narrative draws you into a quasi-animal rhythm. Each line could be an epigraph, like the one that closes the book: ‘The women knew instinctively that the only evil lies in harming others and that the meaning of life is love.’ This book is truly astonishing.” – Véronique Ovaldé