To dream is not simply to give in to our innermost desires; it is an extremely necessary period of consolidation and recombination for our minds, a period of metabolism for the brain, one made less effective by both glut and famine, in keeping with the metaphor. What then becomes of us when sleep is seen as a nuisance, a barrier to productivity, a problem area to be disrupted in favor of making more valuable use of our time?
Such is the conceit of The Eyelid, the latest book from author and scholar S. D. Chrostowska, a book that can be read simultaneously as fairy tale and withering social critique, as timeless fable and paean to the struggles of May 1968. But if there is a utopian vision in The Eyelid, it is obscure and well-guarded, leery of how easily fantasy and desire, once expressed, become a blueprint for further colonization of the spirit. Through erudite prose, by turns limpid and lyrical, Chrostowska does not seek to provide answers, and the hope that is alluded to is more workmanlike than radical. You might come away with the impression that Candide needed only to have napped, but to have napped with the proper care and attention, to have reached El Dorado, proper name Onirica, republic of dreams, wherein he would find that the immutable currency was not gold, but the kind of sound sleep that is more and more denied us.