THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS
Recipient of the 2014 Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award
Long listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Named a best book of September 2014 by Flavorwire and Bustle
Book club pick for the Wisconsin State Journal
It’s 1998, and Sylvie Patterson, a bookish student at a Northern California boarding school, falls in love with a spirited, elusive classmate named Gabe. Their headmaster, Dr. Adrian Keller, is a charismatic medical researcher who has staked his career on the therapeutic potential of lucid dreaming: By teaching his patients to become conscious during sleep, he helps them to relieve stress and heal from trauma.
Over the next six years, Sylvie and Gabe become consumed by Keller’s work, following him from the redwood forests of Eureka to the New England coast. But when an opportunity brings the trio to the Midwest, Sylvie and Gabe stumble into a tangled relationship with their mysterious neighbors—and Sylvie begins to doubt the ethics of Keller’s research, recognizing the harm that can be wrought under the guise of progress.
As she navigates the hazy, permeable boundaries between what is real and what isn’t, who can be trusted and who cannot, Sylvie also faces surprising developments in herself: an unexpected infatuation, growing paranoia, and a new sense of rebellion. In stirring, elegant prose, Benjamin’s tale exposes the slippery nature of trust—and the immense power of our dreams.
Selected Interviews & Media
A video from Simon & Schuster about publishing THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS
A Q&A with Time Out New York on lucid dreaming and not writing a love story
A feature at Kirkus on speculative fiction, realism and the hardest part of the writing process
A radio interview with WPR's Larry Meiller Show
Two interviews with The Wisconsin State Journal, on setting the novel in Madison and writing rituals, real-life sleep crimes, and Hollywood
An interview with ISTHMUS on Madison's role in The Anatomy of Dreams, inventing Dr. Keller's research and spotting Gabe and Sylvie's real-life house