The flicker of old dreams : a novel / Susan Henderson.

Item request has been placed! ×
Item request cannot be made. ×
loading   Processing Request
  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Mary Crampton has spent all of her thirty years in Petroleum, a small Western town once supported by a powerful grain company. Living at home, she works as the embalmer in her father's mortuary: an unlikely job that has long marked her as an outsider. Yet, to Mary there is a satisfying art to positioning and styling each body to capture the essence of a subject's life. Though some townsfolk pretend that the community is thriving, the truth is that Petroleum is crumbling away--a process that began twenty years ago when an accident in the grain elevator killed a beloved high school athlete. The mill closed for good, the train no longer stopped in town, and Robert Golden, the victim's younger brother, was widely blamed for the tragedy and shipped off to live elsewhere. Now, out of the blue, Robert has returned to care for his terminally ill mother. After Mary--reserved, introspective, and deeply lonely--strikes up an unlikely friendship with him, shocking the locals, she finally begins to consider what might happen if she dared to leave Petroleum. Set in America's heartland, The Flicker of Old Dreams explores themes of resilience, redemption, and loyalty in prose as lyrical as it is powerful.--COVER.
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      HENDERSON, S. The flicker of old dreams : a novel. First edition. [s. l.]: Harper Perennial, 2018. ISBN 9780062686701. Disponível em: Acesso em: 6 jun. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Henderson S. The Flicker of Old Dreams : A Novel. First edition. Harper Perennial; 2018. Accessed June 6, 2020.
    • APA:
      Henderson, S. (2018). The flicker of old dreams : a novel (First edition.). Harper Perennial.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Henderson, Susan. 2018. The Flicker of Old Dreams : A Novel. First edition. Harper Perennial.
    • Harvard:
      Henderson, S. (2018) The flicker of old dreams : a novel. First edition. Harper Perennial. Available at: (Accessed: 6 June 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Henderson, S 2018, The flicker of old dreams : a novel, First edition., Harper Perennial, viewed 6 June 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Henderson, Susan. The Flicker of Old Dreams : A Novel. First edition., Harper Perennial, 2018. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Henderson, Susan. The Flicker of Old Dreams : A Novel. First edition. Harper Perennial, 2018.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Henderson S. The flicker of old dreams : a novel [Internet]. First edition. Harper Perennial; 2018 [cited 2020 Jun 6]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2018 February #1

Petroleum, Montana, is a town easily missed, a place without fast-food chains or cell service, where people know the true meaning of hard work. Rocked by tragedy decades earlier, Petroleum never recovered. Neighbors hold tight to resentment, and the population dwindles away. In her second novel, Henderson (Up from the Blue, 2010) brings this dying community to life, detailing the lives of eccentric residents surrounded by a harsh yet beautiful environment. The novel's main character, Mary, is an introvert who works as an embalmer in her father's mortuary. Unable to connect with the living, Mary finds comfort in her unusual career and channels herself into the care of the deceased until a neighbor suddenly returns and changes everything. Mary sees the town in a new light, witnessing the same cruel intolerance she's been trying to escape for years. Henderson's latest tackles the difficult moments of life and death, weighing security against doubt, loyalty versus selfishness, and what it costs to give up everything to find one's true self. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2017 November #1

Mary Crampton has spent her entire life in Petroleum, a fading heartlands town, but still gets treated gingerly by townsfolk because she works as an embalmer in her father's mortuary. Then she becomes involved with outcast Robert, who's returned to tend to his dying mother, and wonders if maybe there's a life beyond. From a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee; a 30,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2018 January #3

Henderson's grim and meaty second novel (after Up from the Blue) tackles the subject of death in an all-consuming way. The fictional town in which the story is set, Petroleum, Mont., population 182, has been dying for over two decades, since an accident in a grain elevator took the life of a local high schooler and shut down the town's main source of employment. The protagonist is the mortician's daughter, Mary, who embalms bodies in the basement of her father's house. She is a shy misfit whose dreams of becoming an artist have long since been extinguished, though she remains awed by the majesty of the barren landscape into which she was born. The townspeople resent that their town is dead, and none are content, although Henderson allows readers an occasional glimpse of stolen laughs and stolen love. When the dead teen's brother, Robert, returns to keep his mother company in her dying days, the community's old resentments resurface. Meanwhile, in Robert, Mary finds a soul mate and a fellow oddball who does not conform to the expectations of parents or townspeople. Henderson gives a glimmer of hope for the future at the end of this meditation on death, grief, and emotional freedom, resulting in a contemplative and memorable novel. (Mar.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.