Morpheus by Stan Charnofsky

morpheus★★★  Written by Dr. Stan Charnofsky, Morpheus introduces Clarence Candle, whose severe mother issues and childhood trauma affects his dreams. Clare begins to date Abby, a woman who is as troubled as he is. Both characters deal with a plethora of issues individually, but bond through their experience of childhood sexual assault. Unlike Clare, Abby uses her pain to lash out at others. This happens specifically in Writer’s Guild, their writer’s group, where they both meet Kentucky Prism, a loud man with an obvious facial tic. Kentucky Prism becomes a highly critical thorn in Abby’s side. He causes outbursts in the writers’ group, and is later accused of burning down Abby’s parents’ house. Clare’s decision to go to therapy is pivotal, and he begins to work through his trauma. He does his best to use his new knowledge to help Abby begin her own healing. His tactic leads Abby to an unsuccessful face-off with her cousin and childhood rapist, Alejandro. That face-off pays off, as Alejandro is the one who saves Abby from an attempted rape by Kentucky Prism. As Clare begins to make amends with his mother near the end of the story, Abby separates from Clare to continue healing herself emotionally. This gives Clare the opening to continue his own journey of healing, and make moves on his new love interest, his stepsister.

Charnofsky’s writing is eloquent and his many allusions to literature show he is well-read. Morpheus stresses the importance of therapy as a way to combat mental health, which is a vital message to give to readers. However, the characters lack depth, with some of their dialogue coming off as flat and out of place. The story shoves too much drama into one hundred and ninety pages; between sexual assaults and verbal outbursts, the true plot is lost. Apart from the oddity of Clare’s sensual love for his stepsister, the story is a quick read, especially those interested in how dreams can shape reality.

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