Here’s a list of 10 books that have a dreamlike feel, Books with ethereal feel that feels like you’re living a dream. These books are sure to teleport you into a different where everything feels lucid and elusive, like a dream that you remember only faintly, but which is slowly slipping away from your consciousness. Thus, these books straddle the boundaries between consciousness and unconsciousness through their themes, language or style.
10 Books That Have A Dreamlike Feel:
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- The Waves by Virginia Woolf
- Afternoon Raag by Amit Chaudhuri
- Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
- One Hundred Years of Solitude
- Farewell Song by Rabindranath Tagore
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
- In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Murakami’s books, due to the way he writes and what he writes about almost always have a magical and dreamlike quality to them. This book follows a young man who leaves his home to elude the Oedipal prophesy that preys on him. In the process, he ends up finding an alternate world. Everything about this book is like a surreal dream.
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Woolf’s classic is the story of six friends as they recount their lives from birth to the death of a singular friend. As the title suggests, the setting is the sea, where the sand merges with water like dreams with reality. Much like a wave too, time passes and is stretched back, and identities are made, destroyed and then remade.
Afternoon Raag by Amit Chaudhuri
This is almost like a plotless prose that reads like poetry. Through languorous descriptions of every small detail of life, Chaudhury traverses between three timelines. The first is his childhood enveloped in music in Calcutta, the second is his first diasporic life in Mumbai. And the third is his final diasporic life in Oxford, where he navigates a love triangle.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
This fantasy book delves into the life of Piranesi, who lives alone in a home that contains the ocean. The only person in the house apart from him is the Other, whom he meets at mealtimes. But soon he realizes this might only be a half-truth, which sends his life into a spiral. The setting, the plot and the language collude in this novel to emit a dreamlike vibe.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
This modern classic is basically the story of a multigenerational family living in a fictional town called Macondo. Time passes in repeated cycles, weird events occur and the lucidity of language feels like an absolute dream. All of this is enhanced by the magical realism, of which this book is the most perfect example.
Farewell Song by Rabindranath Tagore
This book is dreamlike due to its evocative imagery of Shillong, a quaint hill station in the Himalayas. The dreamlike quality is augmented by the use of poetry, whose lyrical style Tagore was known for. At its heart, the story is a love story between an elite Calcutta boy and an idyllic and simple Shillong girl.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
This middle grade fantasy novel is the story of Coraline, who moves into a new flat with her family. When Coraline accidentally opens a door, she finds a passage to a mirror house with angels. There’s also another father, who invites her in. However, there seem to be many other girls who seem to be trapped. This horror story has a magical dreamlike feel to it!
In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
This weird utopian book is set in a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and rivers are made of watermelon sugar. If this isn’t enough dreamlike, then I don’t know what is. In addition, the poetry of the book just makes it more surreal. This book is like a perfect childish dream but with adultlike elements too.
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
This stream of consciousness novel is very much rooted in the reality of 1920s Paris, yet it still feels like a dream. It basically is a weaving together of the escapades of an American author in Paris, as he struggles to make a living as a writer. The flow of sentences, and the way scenes melt into each other, give it a distinct dreamlike feel.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
In this book, the margin between life and death is traversed by a library with shelves that go on forever. Each book represents an alternative reality that could have been lived. With a premise as darkly dreamlike than this, the book is bound to be surreal. But Craig’s lyrical and transportive prose just makes this all the more true.