Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: 'Five Souls in a Dream' by Elias Aractingi (Illustrated by Christiane Walegren)

“Dreams should take you forward, not hold you up.”

Author Elias Aractingi lives and works in both Lebanon and Florida as a banker and a management consultant and has also worked in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. In addition to his work in the corporate world Elias has written two books – the first being "Boosting YOU: The Book That Helps You Become a More Successful Executive" – an executive self-help book that delves into the world of the subconscious and gives great importance to emotions and emotional energy. Now he brings us FIVE SOULS IN A DREAM concentrates his writing on emotions and on relationships. He has also published relationship articles in the Thought Catalog. Rather than confining his latest book to deal with self-help on relationships, Elias brings magic and fantasy to this adult romantic fairy tale. His story is presented with elegant, additive illustrations by Christiane Walegren. 

Much of the flavor - and message – of this successful book is evident in the fine Prologue – ‘My name is Sam. I am a sixty-three-year-old man who lives on a small ranch in Oregon. I used to own a hardware store in Portland, but I sold it a few years ago, and I am now semiretired, living off small jobs here and there, mostly plumbing and appliance repair. I have few needs, and I live a quiet, uneventful life. My wife left me a few years back, after our two children grew up and moved out of state, but I don’t hold any grudges, and we are still friends. I see her from time to time when the kids come to visit, and we usually spend Thanksgiving together, as in the old days, without her new husband. I moved on and have a girlfriend. She’s a nurse at a nearby hospital. She usually spends weekends with me, but we each have our own place and like it that way. If you had to use one word to describe me, it would be unremarkable. You see, I have never been anything other than average at any occupation, duty, or hobby, whether in a positive or a negative way. I am not particularly smart or dumb. I have an average education, I have average looks, and I have had my ups and downs like most people. You might be reading those lines and thinking, “Well, for an average guy, he does express himself fairly well and seems to have quite a lot of self-awareness,” to which I would reply that what you are reading comes not from my mouth or my pen but from my soul. It seems I was given temporary faculties of self-understanding and communication for the sole purpose of narrating this story. Up until a few weeks ago, if someone had told me a book would be written about me or about any part of my life, I would have laughed for a long time. At sixty-three I am old enough to have been through all the usual things people experience in their lives and wise enough to understand that nothing major is to be expected in the future beyond a comfortable, unremarkable life. Most important, I am also old enough to enjoy the very fact that my life is unexceptional. So trust me when I tell you that this book is not the result of some ambition to be a writer or have an audience, but writing it is something I had to do, a sort of duty assigned to me by a force I don’t understand, a mission that was unexpectedly sprung on me in my quiet life. To cut to the chase, this book is about the one remarkable thing that has happened to me, which happened a few weeks ago, changing my life and giving me that mission. It happened on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The beginning of spring is always a welcome day for a farmer. I had spent a lot of time in the fields; I had walked far, beyond my ranch, to a nice area near a river; and I had picked some wildflowers to give Nancy, my girlfriend, for our usual midweek dinner date the next day. Back home, I had felt in great shape, had a light dinner and a nice glass of my best bourbon to celebrate spring, and then gone straight to bed. I had one of those sleeps you yearn for, particularly at my age: healthy, deep, and long. And I had a dream. A dream that could not have lasted for more than a few hours—scientists would tell you a few minutes—but in which more things happened to me than most people experience in an entire lifetime. A dream that changed my life and will probably change yours. And that dream is the object of this book, and its purpose. That dream is the one remarkable thing that has happened to me in my sixty-three years of life and the reason I felt compelled to tell my story.’

Elias’ synopsis share a bit more – ‘Sam is an average man, leading a very ordinary life in Oregon. On March 21, 2017, he goes to sleep and has an extraordinary dream, one that changes his life and will change yours. In his one-night dream, Sam lives many years in an enchanted world and meets successively five extraordinary souls with whom he shares love, achievement, successes and disappointments. He also learns key lessons and secrets about life and relationships.’

This is the book we all need at this point in time – eloquent, pertinent, finely spun dreams and how life can he different. Read and grow. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.