Set in a fictional town, at a fictional school, Linda N. Masi’s debut novel, Fine Dreams, rewrites myth and history. Framed by a ghost’s first-person narrative, the book centers on four young friends, the stars of their school’s track team. While studying for exams, they are kidnapped and taken to a terrorist encampment. Two are claimed as “wives” by their captors, one is forced to wear a suicide vest, and each is subjected to appalling violence and terror. While their stories resonate with a widely publicized 2014 abduction, these four young women could have been taken in any of the many incidents that have plagued the Nigerian people for years.
Even though they are abducted and abused by men in power and forced to survive in a dark place like Persephone, Masi’s protagonists offer new endings for Persephone’s story. In Masi’s telling, these resilient young women recover their dreams and hopes to live in daylight once again. No matter where they travel or where they stay, they gain self-determination and reclaim their dreams.
Part One: 2015
Part Two: 2016
Part Three: 2017
LINDA N. MASI holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi and is completing a PhD in creative writing at Texas Tech University. Her work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly and Blackberry: A Magazine, and she is the author of a children’s book series as well as a book of poetry.
"Fine Dreams is a wrenching novel in which young women claw back control of their lives after unimaginable violence."—Foreword Reviews, starred review
“In an age when domestic and personal dramas capture most literary attention, Fine Dreams breaks the mold, bravely and forthrightly investigating geo-religious and political history via the personal. Four kidnapped teenage schoolgirls guide us through the seemingly unbearable—appalling brutality and collective terror—toward life, death, and hope beyond. I read this book straight through. It was impossible not to.”—Robin McLean, author of Pity the Beast
“Masi writes with so much resolve, gravity, and unwavering sincerity that her debut novel, Fine Dreams, gave me almost constant chills.”—Catherine Lacey, author of Biography of X
“In Fine Dreams, Linda Masi’s clear-eyed prose vividly renders the fates of five Nigerian schoolgirls caught up in violent clashes of religion and culture. A moving ghost story for our turbulent times, this powerful multi-voiced novel dives deep into the rapids of extremism, skillfully alternating between voices that each mount their separate bids for survival with whatever tools lie closest to hand. Affecting and intense, Masi’s first novel may break readers' hearts wide open, but the resiliency of the human spirit that emanates from each page is sure to stitch them expertly, beautifully, back together.”—Katie Cortese, author of Make Way for Her and Other Stories and Girl Power and Other Short-Short Stories