Praise for Dream City

“A powerful first novel… set in a faithfully re-created Depression-era Chicago.” — Modesta Zapata, Chicago Magazine

“Terrific… Accomplished…” — Jeff Salamon, Austin American-Statesman

“It’s rare that a novel can affect and haunt the reader to a marked degree, but this one does. Short ‘Dream’s big. He’s one to watch.” — Rod Lott, Oklahoma Gazette

“One of the most impressive first novels I’ve ever encountered… beautiful… harrowing… brilliant… Dream City does exactly what the best novels are supposed to do, change the reader in a way he or she never expected.” — John G. Nettles, Flagpole Magazine 

“An impressively mature first effort… complex and compelling. The moral dilemmas that can complicate family commitment are presented very clearly here. Highly recommended.” — Kevin Greczek, Library Journal

“Brendan Short’s first novel, “Dream City,” is a complex creature. Short successfully weaves together many people’s lives, all the while with a keen understanding of how people interact with each other… [The female characters] are vividly drawn, with imperfections and complex motivations.” — Marcus Banks, San Francisco Chronicle

“The characters are expertly developed; even the minor ones are allowed flaws and dreams. And though many of the dreams are abandoned, the tone of the book remains hopeful.” — Julia Thiel, Chicago Reader

“I don’t know that I’ve ever read a more painful reminder of the penalty that comes with a passion for all the wrong things that Brendan Short’s Dream City… Short does a really nice job fleshing out the lives of all the ruined souls that [Michael] Halligan brushes up against…” — Steve Duin, The Oregonian

“A lifespan story, [Dream City] traverses some 70 years through the 20th century…bringing with it vivid images of [Chicago’s] iconic history — the World’s Fair, the Great Depression, the population migration to the suburbs, all studded with snippets of historical realism that bring the past into sharp focus… the story twists around a delightful plot device: the children’s series Big Little Books and the collectors who love them.” — Kay Severinsen, Chicago Sun-Times

Dream City examines the lives of its protagonists with candor and sympathy… The vignette-style moves the book along at a thoughtful pace… In the more poignant moments [the characters] find redemption in each other through sincerity and love.” — Ben Mirov, The Brooklyn Rail

“A dramatic tale where childhood fantasies contrast with the realities of adult life…[an] epic dreamscape…vast and delicately written.” — Michael Leonard,

One of “this summer’s musts” — Nancy Stetson, Florida Weekly

“Dream City is a strong debut, hopefully a harbinger of even better things to come from its author.” — Poornima Apte,

“Brendan Short’s Dream City is a great, dark, utterly compelling read, infused with the spirits of the great Chicago Realists — Dreiser, Algren, James T. Farrell. Envisioned by an all-seeing eye and rendered with an steady hand, Short’s Dream City is a place in which the myth of progress collides with the reality of stock yards and routine violence, but in which even the most brutal denizens have their dreams, the most desperate their destinies and the most irredeemable can be redeemed. You can put it down… but not until you’ve finished it. And then you will be haunted by it. Because Dream City is a book that means something.” — David Bradley, author of The Chaneysville Incident, PEN/Faulkner Award winner

“Brendan Short’s Dream City is a wonderful novel – beautifully imagined, complexly plotted, sadder than any first novel has a right to be. Like Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, it cuts to the heart of our attachment to the pop culture artifacts of the past, the solace of old things. It will sneak up on you and break your heart.” — Anthony Giardina, author of Norumbega Park and White Guys

“Brendan Short’s first novel is a moving and masterful story about how the imaginative fevers of childhood can burn through an entire life, creating hope, destroying love, kindling dreams. Short is no show-off. His work is unmannered and precise, and he tells his story so invisibly well that when you reach the last page you won’t expect to be haunted by it. But you will be.” — Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton