"Weak in Comparison to Dreams... is the most courageous and fascinating debut I have read since Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves." -Full-Stop
For years, Samuel Emmer has monitored bacteria levels in drinking water for the small city of Guelph.
He is content to focus on dangerous life-threatening single-celled organisms as his grasp on his own life recedes--and with it, family and friends. To be sure, it is more than a little surprising when Samuel learns that he has been appointed to the city's Zoo Feasibility Committee. Even more so, that he is being tasked with interacting not just with animals, but human beings. His assignment: travel to zoos around the world and gather information on the stereotypical behavior of animals in their enclosures--the city of Guelph aspiring commendably, if naively, to a cruelty-free habitat for its animals. It is in Tallinn, Estonia, that the dreams start for Samuel. He is in a vast wooded landscape; there is a fire burning in the distance; and it is coming his way...
Weak in Comparison to Dreams, by the historian and art critic James Elkins, is like no other novel you have ever read, even as certain inspirations, from Sebald to Tokarczuk, are clear. With an astounding breadth of knowledge and playful courage, Weak in Comparison to Dreams reignites our love for the ambitious novel with experimentation that never lacks intention, and whose empathetic scope explores the deepest aspects of our individual humanity.