The Daydreamer

The Daydreamer


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A delightful literary foray for adults and children alike, from the inexhaustible imagination of Booker Prize-winning, best-selling author Ian McEwan. In these seven exquisitely interlinked episodes, the grown-up protagonist Peter Fortune reveals the secret journeys, metamorphoses, and adventures of his childhood. Living somewhere between dream and reality, Peter experiences fantastical transformations: he swaps bodies with the wise old family cat; exchanges existences with a cranky infant; encounters a very bad doll who has come to life and is out for revenge; and rummages through a kitchen drawer filled with useless objects to discover some not-so-useless cream that actually makes people vanish. Finally, he wakes up as an eleven-year-old inside a grown-up body and embarks on the truly fantastic adventure of falling in love. Moving, dreamlike, and extraordinary, The Daydreamer marks yet another imaginative departure for Ian McEwan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385498050
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 321,491
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 8 - 11 Years

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the novels NutshellThe Children ActSweet ToothSolar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; On Chesil BeachSaturdayAtonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both short-listed for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets.


Oxford, England

Date of Birth:

June 21, 1948

Place of Birth:

Aldershot, England


B.A., University of Sussex, 1970; M.A., University of East Anglia, 1971

Read an Excerpt

As each chapter of The Daydreamer was completed, I read it aloud to my children.  The arrangement was simple.  They got the latest installment of what we called the 'Peter stories', and I took away some useful editorial content.  This pleasant, almost ritualistic exchange in turn affected the writing itself, in that I became more than usually attentive to the sound of an adult voice speaking each sentence.  This adult was not, or not simply, me.  Alone in my study, I read aloud passages to an imaginary child (not quite, or not only, one of mine) on behalf of this imaginary adult.  Ear and tongue, I wanted to please them both.

The child's needs I thought I knew instinctively: a good tale above all, a sympathetic hero, villains yes, but not all the time because they are too simplifying, clarity in openings, twists in the middle, and satisfying outcomes that were not always happy.  For the adult I felt little more than vague sympathy.  We all love the idea of bedtime stories -- the fresh minted breath, the wide and trustful eyes, the hot water bottle baking down among the clean linen, the sleepy glowing covenant -- and who would not have the scene carved upon his headstone?  But do adults really like children's literature?  I've always thought the entusiasm was a little overstated, even desperate.  'Swallows and Amazons? Beatrix Potter? Marvellous books!'  Do we really mean it, do we really still enjoy them, or are we speaking up for, and keeping the lines open to, our lost, nearly forgotten selves?  When exactly did you last curl up alone with The Swiss Family Robinson?

What we like about children's books is our children's pleasure in them, and this is less to do with literature and more to do with love.  Early on in writing and reading aloud The Daydreamer I began to think it might be better to forget about our mighty tradition of children's literature and to write a book for adults about a child in a language that children could understand.  In the century of Hemingway and Calvino simple prose need not deter the sophisticated reader.  I hoped the subject matter -- the imagination itself -- was one in which anyone who picks up a book has a stake.  Similarly, transformation has been a theme, almost an obsession, in all literatures.  The Daydreamer was published in an illustrated edition for children in Britain and the United States, and in a more sober adult form in various other countries.  There was once a tradition by which authors dedicate their books to the fates, rather in the manner of a parent sending a child out into the world. 'Goe littel booke...'  this one may well settle down after all for a quiet life in a corner of a children's library, or die in oblivion, but for the moment I'm still hoping it might give some pleasure all round.

Ian McEwan

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Daydreamer 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was great I loved it. I read it when I was ten and it has stayed in my mind ever since. the main character's daydreams became mine with that book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From reading this book it made me think a lot about what a little 10 year old boy daydreams about. Its a very interesting book to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It made me think about all the daydreaming I do. Although my daydreaming isn't always as fascinating as Peter's! If you want an adventure and a laugh this is a MUST READ. I have 9 and 11 year old cousins and I just can't wait to read 'The Daydreamer' to them! It had me smiling from ear to ear!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Fortune is a quiet boy, but his active imagination, revealed in his daydreams, yields fascinating tales with perceptive insights. Each chapter can stand alone as a story. Right now, I'm reading it as a parent visitor in my fourth-grader's library period, chapter by chapter. The kids seem to love it. But don't be fooled; it's as much for grownups as for kids.
marek2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this when The Book Hive was opened in Norwich, & wanted to support the independents & I'd been looking for this for some time. & doubtless never found it because I don't browse the childrens/young peoples/ juveniles section. Its a wonderful book, the imagination flows over. I hope he writes another.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is series of short vignettes - all incidents in the life of ten-year-old Peter, who people think is difficult, because he is quiet and they don't know what he is thinking. In fact, Peter has an active imagination, one that gets him in to trouble, but also lets him empathise with others. Some of the stories are funny, like when his sister's dolls demand his room, or he uses vanishing cream to make his family disappear, or catches the crabby old lady down the street being a cat burglar. Some of the stories are deeply touching, like when he trades places with his elderly cat and his baby cousin. And a few adventures give Peter insight into himself, such as when he takes on the school bully, or imagines he's a grown up. Although this is arranged as a chapter book, the stories are each self contained, an well drawn, Peter and his active imagination are entirely believable. I'd recommend this to kids the same age or a little bit younger - the range of stories means that there is something in here to appeal to most tastes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi i am spiritfury i am a white shecat with blue and black spots. I am 22 moons old and i love to hunt. Oh and my eyes are grayish green
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gender: Tom Pysical description: pelt is the color of honey and eyes are green. Strong and thoughtful. Personality: please get to know me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:Silverpaw. Type:warrior apprentice. Mate:none. Crush.none. Description.silver with a white stomach and long sharp dagger like claws. Other.often desived by her looks. Exact image of her momther yet acts like her father. <p> Name.Spottedpaw. cat apprentice. Mate.none. Crush.none. Description.tortoiseshell with a white belly and tail tip. Eyes.blazing green. Other.sweet hearted yet can fight and hunt. Same claws as Silverpaw. Same image as her father yet acts like her mother. <p> Update later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! READ NOW!!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
You wouldn't belive how good it was. I told my friends to read it and they loved it. All the stories in it came alive wehn I read it.