The past haunts the characters in The Eater of Dreams. In fifteen interconnected stories, Kat Cameron’s vivid characters — teachers, singers, writers, and misfits — examine the inner fractures in their lives. A woman muses about her miscarried child while watching a friend’s daughter play; an opera singer in Edmonton is stalked by an abusive ex-lover; a student’s story of bullying reminds a woman of her own childhood traumas; a woman cuts out the heart of a faithless man; the ghost of Lafcadio Hearn haunts the bedroom of a grieving teacher in Japan.
The title for the collection is taken from a Japanese folktale about the baku, a mythological creature that eats nightmares, and her tales pulsate with this energy. In the darkest moments of her characters, they find or discover the energy they need to survive, but not without breaking down the surface to see clearly who they really are. Her portraits bear witness to the longing, yearning, unspoken desire of her characters’ dreams and to the uncertainty and contemplation of their lives in the flux of travel and change. The Eater of Dreams is at once contemporary but also ancient in its probing; it is a collection that blurs the borders between realism and the magic that lies outside it. Brilliant, passionate, and fierce, these stories summon the memories of lost relationships.
As I read “Dancing the Requiem,” by Kat Cameron, I was taken over . . . absorbed by the world of the story. I burnt the bottom out of a pot. Cameron’s is a mesmerizing story that shows the main character, Zoe, dancing on the edge of precarity — the fear of an abusive partner who surfaces in public places, the fear of economic insecurity and loneliness, and alongside these doubts, the redemptive power of art; the balance it provides; the elation of being near the creation of something bigger than oneself. — Lisa Moore
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