A journey of reckoning and renewal, this story of one family’s history and its future dreams is by no means a traditional memoir—rather, it is an examination of the individual imagination as a catalyst for social change from a Guggenheim Fellow and master essayist
Whatever the ideological slant of our information feeds, nowadays we all share a sense of binge-watching the apocalypse. Facing so much uncertainty, we need a language for thinking about the unknown not simply as a threat, but also as a space of fertile possibility. George Prochnik has chosen to reflect on these urgent themes through the lens of a personal narrative: an account of his own decision to leave the United States.
I Dream With Open Eyes begins with an exploration of Prochnik’s ancestral past and pilgrimage of his mother’s family, who were among the first English settlers in the New World. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, a parallel migration is unfolding, as Prochnik, along with his wife and their son, make the decision to uproot their lives in New York. They leave behind their friends and family, to return to England.
A deep critique of this current moment, Prochnik takes the words of nineteenth-century poet Heinrich Heine, “I dream with open eyes, and my eyes see” as an inspiration to ask how, as a society, we might use art and literature to refract and expand our vision for the future, while simultaneously generating a new focus on present realities.