The Trajectory Of Dreams
by Nicole Wolverton
Lela White works for a sleep study center in Houston. Part of her study involves the psychological condition of astronauts for upcoming shuttle missions. Not part of her study is her enigmatic compulsion to break in to the astronauts’ homes for a closer study on how they sleep…and to possibly kill them if she suspects they will be a danger to the mission. However, when she meets cosmonaut Zory Korchagin, who quotes poetry and speaks of his grandmother, her plans go awry as her attraction to him grows. Also messing with her plans are: a pesky librarian, a coworker and unwanted roommate and a janitor with whom she trades sexual favors for information. How does solve her dilemma of whether Zory will be an asset or a liability to the upcoming space flight? Find a way to put him in mortal danger.
This is a weird plot. No other word for it. I’ve never read anything quite like it. Part mystery, part romance, distinctly surreal. I had read a summary of the book before I read it and hesitated a long while before starting. This is definitely not one I would have picked up from the bookstore.
Lela White: 32, polysomnographic technician at a sleep study center, volunteers at local library, dad dead over a year, mom gone from life, owns a cat with which she ‘converses’, lives in her childhood home, wears glasses, consciously focuses on breathing techniques, paranoia tendencies, tiny feet, wears glasses
Zory Pavlovich Korchagin: Cosmonaut, broad shoulders, brown goatee and mustache, elfin ears, gray eyes, bushy eyebrows, single, grandmother had bipolar disease, attended Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
Three other characters feature in the story (not including the sleeping astronaut at the beginning). The librarian, the janitor and the roommate. I suppose one could include the Lela’s cat as a character. Not too much physical description for Lela and Zory. Lela relies on her hatred for her mother and shared wisdom of her deceased father to get her through the days.
Bland. Not boring but on an even keel. Even Trina, the roommate’ brusqueness isn’t overpowering. Actually, I considered the most interesting conversations to be between Lela and her cat.
First person from Lela’s POV. Each chapter is titled. The problem I had with this book is that I didn’t understand it. I’m sure there is some hidden depth that I’m not comprehending. As I mentioned, it’s a surreal type of book that rolls along on a flat road with little tension. Constantly I tried to catch what was going on underneath, but couldn’t.
Part of problem is that I don’t see any emotion from Lela throughout most of the story. Her expressed feelings on death and sex are virtually the same. Maybe this was intentional by the author, but because of it, I feel I’m missing something vital. There is a definite shredding of her outer core because of the paranoia that brings out some emotion, but even then, in one sense it was still veiled if thinly.
I thought a long time what rank to give this and even when I made the decision, wasn’t sure it was correct. I will admit, part of the rank I give books includes not just the four aspects I discuss, but whether I enjoyed the book. I didn’t dislike this book, but wasn’t too enthused about it. I’m not saying it wasn’t a worthwhile read…for some people. For instance, I didn’t like Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter when I read it in high school. Ditto Romeo and Juliet although I didn’t mind MacBeth. Death of a Salesman was another one I didn’t care for. Am I putting Trajectory of Dreams in the same category as these classics? No. I’m trying to explain how just because I find no grammar/punctuation/spelling errors or the characters aren’t unbelievable and the plot is okay I can still give a lower than expected ranking for the simple reason I found the story not to my liking. Some people would and probably might give it a better review. Maybe others can comprehend the undertones or possible ‘meaning’ to the book. So, in this rare case, I wouldn’t let my ranking sway your decision to read it. Read the summary and take a chance.