Despite the fact that Dream himself isn’t much in this volume of The Sandman, it’s still a great exploration of the world of dreams. We get to see some nightmares in this volume, and they’re truly disturbing.
I love how Gaiman blurs the lines between dream and reality in this one. It leaves you looking at the room around you and wondering, “Is this real life?”
We find Barbie in New York City. When last we saw her, she was living with her boyfriend, Ken, in Florida, boarding at a house with Rose Walker, who turned out to be a living dream vortex (stay with me). She’s now living in a small apartment with a motley crew of neighbors: George, a seemingly innocuous man with a dark secret inside; Hazel and Foxglove, a lesbian couple about to face an unexpected crisis, and half of which we’ve met before; Thessaly, a “vanilla” girl who’s a lot deeper than she looks; and Wanda, who used to be Alvin.
We’ve seen into Barbie’s dreams before. But we’d never expect Barbie’s dreams to affect the “real” world she lives in.
Gaiman has found a clever and creative way to pose the question of how our dreams affect our everyday lives. It may be unconscious or conscious, but our dreams do play a part in shaping how we view the world around us. What’s important to us at the moment may actually be as insignificant as dust that will blow away in a moment, yet it leaves a lasting impression in our hearts and minds — much like Gaiman’s graphic novel.