By Alan Burns
Dreamerika!, Alan Burns’s fourth novel, first published in 1972, provides a satirical look at the Kennedy political dynasty, serving up an idiosyncratic hotch-potch of history that gives an old tragedy new meaning. For this book, Burns collected newspaper clippings, headlines, cartoons and photographs, cut them up, filed them and then interspersed them throughout his text to create a collage of contrasting effects.
Presented in a fragmented form that reflects society’s disintegration, Dreamerika! fuses fact and dream, resulting in a surreal biography, an alternate history which lays bare the corruption and excesses of capitalism just as the heady idealism of the 1960s has begun to fade.
A trained lawyer, Alan Burns (1929–2013) became a celebrated novelist and playwright, loosely associated with the 1960s British experimental circle of writers led by B.S. Johnson. He is best known for Europe after the Rain (1965), Celebrations (1967), Babel (1969) and Dreamerika! (1972).