José Eduardo Agualusa’s restless protagonist, Daniel Benchimol, spends his dreaming hours interviewing revolutionaries and writers. In this treacherous sleepscape, we find the Angolan anti-communist Jonas Savimbi, Muammar Gaddafi, hunched and hiding in a gutter, and Julio Cortázar as a great billowing tree, speaking to Daniel through an alphabet of clouds. He dreams wild dreams of people he’s never met, squinting at them as if submerged in the hazy waters of southern Angola.
When Daniel finds a camera on the beach, he becomes obsessed with the woman in the photos. Moira is a Mozambican artist with a similar preoccupation with her subconscious life – she stages her dreams in her artwork. The two meet, and together they explore the cloudy edges of their nightly visions, tugging at the fringed hem of the real. The Society of Reluctant Dreamers is a delicately crafted glimpse into the aftermath of Angolan independence, a postcard sent to prod the illusion of peace and freedom.