Sunday Salon: What Dreams May Come


I have begun reading Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come and was deeply touched by Matheson’s dedication page; his dedication reads:

with grateful love, to my wife for adding the sweet measure of her soul to my existence

The novel, of course, is about a man who dies and risks literal hell to save his wife because the afterlife isn’t good enough, isn’t paradise without her love.

I’m definitely picking up on a theme: In I Am Legend, about the last human on earth, Matheson explores the longing (yearning is Robert Olen Butler’s term for it) of love, of desire as the protagonist Robert Neville longs not only for human companionship but for love, the love of his wife and family, for that love we crave from another person.

The love we lose in death or divorce or even separation. The love, at least to me, that is stronger than the yearning for a god.

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: What Dreams May Come

    • I didn’t either until I read a brief biography of Matheson, on the ever-reliable Wikpedia; I had enjoyed the movie, at least visually, and was curious about the book.

    • I’m beginning to see some possible correlations: theme, certain, but the protagonist is a writer–mostly TV scripts (Matheson wrote for Twilight Zone, including the notable one with gremlins tearing a plane apart and terrorizing William Shatner), and he’s showing regret about writing horror fiction on earth. From what I’ve read, Matheson was a Christian Scientist, and perhaps was going through a spiritual crisis when writing What Dreams. Or perhaps it’s an answer to the existential I Am Legend?

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