The Dream Lover Summary
by William Boyd

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The Dream Lover Summary

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Lonely and temporarily out of ready cash because of a postal strike in England, Edward, a young Englishman studying French culture at the Centre Universitaire Nice, strikes up a friendship with Preston, an American student who seems to have a lot of money, never goes to class, and repeatedly asks Edward to introduce him to a French girl. Edward, the obliging but shy English student, promises to fix him up and eventually brings several girls from his classes to Preston’s very modern studio apartment in the Résidence Les Anges, a posh place that stands in stark contrast to Edward’s own dim apartment with Madame d’Amico. Edward goes to his classes; Preston rarely does.

Edward has one other social outlet, a regular Monday evening dinner date with a French couple, the Cambrais, who are friends of his mother, and their three daughters. However, other afternoons he is a regular visitor at Preston’s place, drinking in the club or at the pool. Preston always expresses his wish that Edward bring a French girl for him. Edward learns that Preston is an only child and has a millionaire father who fails to send Preston the money he continually requests and a mother who divorced Preston’s father and soon married another millionaire, giving Preston a choice of eight elegant homes to visit around the United States. It finally is revealed that Preston has been sent to Nice because he had seduced each of his three stepsisters, getting the oldest one pregnant.

Edward finally does take a girl from class to the club to meet Preston. However, she is not French, much to Preston’s disappointment, but a Norwegian woman named Ingrid, who speaks perfect English and German. Ingrid also has very hairy armpits, which Preston finds quite erotic. A bit later Edward brings a second girl, a Swedish woman called Danni, who is voluptuous and blond but has a slightly withered leg owing to childhood polio. Meanwhile the barman, a portly unsmiling man named Serge, becomes more and more hostile to Preston and Edward because of their boisterous drinking, Preston’s ever-increasing bar tab, and Preston’s consistent rudeness to him. The other members of the French class now regard Edward with some interest because Ingrid and Danni have reported on their poolside afternoons with unlimited free booze; Edward, however, is beginning to feel “pimp-like.”

Over the months of Monday night dinners with the Cambrais, Edward has developed a relationship with one of their daughters, Annique, a law...

(The entire section is 637 words.)