The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge

Why did I choose this book?

I was happy to receive an advance copy of The Hour of Daydreams in exchange for a review. I don't usually read magical realism, and wanted to give it a try! This debut novel will be out in March 2017 from Forest Avenue Press.

How would I describe the book?

Whimsical and imaginative.

What is the story about?

The Hour of Daydreams: A Reimagined Filipino Folktale is a unique and romantic story, where the line between fantasy and reality is sometimes blurred. Magic and folklore infuse the story, as it jumps from past to present and back again. The story is told from different points of view, with woven and intersecting stories.

Does an entire barrio really fall asleep under a grandmother’s spell in the afternoon, or is this the daydream of an imaginative child? Do fish really fall with the rain, or is it a flood that washes fish into the streets? And when a young doctor named Manolo steals the wings of his bride Tala so she cannot fly away, does this actually happen, or does it symbolize her loss of freedom? In a story told with magical realism, it is perhaps up to the reader to decide the truth.

The story made me think about the fact that it may be difficult for some people today to reconcile the tales and superstitions of earlier generations with modern society. In The Hour of Daydreams, a character might lose her belief in the supernatural at one point in her life, only to embrace it again later. Fables may help us understand and embrace certain truths about our background, family and community, and come to terms with our past.

What did I like best about the story?

I enjoyed reading this story as I would read a poem, open to the possibilities. Ultimately, this is a story about human connection, ambitions, and dreams. It reminded me of the old saying: If you love someone, set them free.

You can learn more about Renee and this book on her Web Site: http://www.reneerutledge.com

2017 Debut NovelSandi Ward