Although Rankin-Gee’s nuanced, astute world building deserves applause, it’s this relationship that holds the novel together, in large part because it feels so real. She vividly captures the balance between ferocity and vulnerability as the two girls explore their burgeoning desire; one minute they’re greedy for each other, the next they’re proceeding more gingerly. Theirs is a great first love, blazing bright and furious amid the poverty and the pain, the perfect counterweight that’s needed to make the novel sing. Dreamland brings us face-to-face with much of what we’re on the threshold of losing; nevertheless, it manages to convince us that its characters have everything still to live for.
This wise, sad and often terrifying novel depicts a dystopian Britain not too far from now. Climate change, lack of housing and absence of social care means people deemed worthless are given cash grants to move out of London...
This brutal read has moments of hope and love but also serves as a hideous warning to fight for what’s right.
It’s hard to write about Rosa Rankin-Gee’s apocalyptic Dreamlandwithout channelling aquatic metaphors. Water courses through its pages, as rising sea levels heighten inequalities, buoy populist politicians and wash away every certainty of civilisation. But there’s also the novel’s prose – its liquid grace and glinting sparkle – and the sheer irresistibility of a narrative that sweeps along with a force that feels tidal in its pull... Though it could certainly be classified as “cli-fi”, Dreamland is also a love story – two – and an account of survival, defiance even, in the face of male violence. When things become grim – and they really do – there is room for macabre humour as well as the tiniest flicker of hope. Rankin-Gee is far too strong a writer for her priority to be anything but the story and yet it’s one with a hyper-alert social conscience.