Book Review: Dreams They Forgot by Emma Ashmere

Dreams They Forgot

About the Book:

Two sisters await the tidal wave predicted for 1970s Adelaide after Premier Don Dunstan decriminalises homosexuality. An interstate family drive is complicated by the father’s memory of sighting UFOs. Two women drive from Melbourne to Sydney to see the Harbour Bridge before it’s finished. An isolated family tries to weather climate change as the Doomsday Clock ticks.

Emma Ashmere’s stories explore illusion, deception and acts of quiet rebellion. Diverse characters travel high and low roads through time and place – from a grand 1860s Adelaide music hall to a dilapidated London squat, from a modern Melbourne hospital to the 1950s Maralinga test site, to the 1990s diamond mines of Borneo.

Undercut with longing and unbelonging, absurdity and tragedy, thwarted plans and fortuitous serendipity, each story offers glimpses into the dreams, limitations, gains and losses of fragmented families, loners and lovers, survivors and misfits, as they piece together a place for themselves in the imperfect mosaic of the natural and unnatural world.

My Thoughts:

Emma Ashmere’s short story collection, Dreams They Forgot, is creatively atmospheric, a series of ‘slice of life’ vignettes set in a variety of eras with a mostly feminist leaning. Emma writes with sublime texture, so much simmering beneath the surface. Fans of short stories will relish this collection. While I’m still not sold on short fiction (and probably never will be), I did appreciate Emma’s writing, the lush tones, and the vivid uniquely Australian atmosphere.


Thanks is extended to Wakefield Press for providing me with a copy of Dreams They Forgot for review.

About the Author:

Emma Ashmere was born in Adelaide, South Australia. Her short stories have been widely published including in the Age, Griffith Review, Overland, Review of Australian Fiction, Sleepers Almanac, Etchings, Spineless Wonders, #8WordStory, NGVmagazine, and the Commonwealth Writers literary magazine, adda. The short stories in her collection Dreams They Forgot have been variously shortlisted for the 2019 Commonwealth Writers Short Story Award, 2019 Newcastle Short Story Award, 2018 Overland NUW Fair Australia Prize, and the 2001 Age Short Story Competition. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Floating Garden, was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2016.

Dreams They Forgot
Published by Wakefield Press
Released September 2020

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Dreams They Forgot by Emma Ashmere

  1. Pingback: Dreams They Forgot, by Emma Ashmere | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

  2. Pingback: Dreams They Forgot (2020), by Emma Ashmere | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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