Our recent book club read was Rose Tremain's The Road Home. The story of Lev, a widower who comes to Britain to make money to have a better life in his own Eastern European country, this was enjoyed by all of us. We cared deeply about the characters, wanting Lev to succeed, feeling his shame and sorrow and also his joy when life was going well for him. His efforts at finding a job and his success in the one he found in a successful restaurent were the kick start to his eventual dream. The loss of that job makes Lev find other ways to achieve what he wants out of life. Although I don't usually read novels by Rose Tremain in one sitting, this one only took a couple, as I wanted to finish it so much and find out if Lev made his hard-won dream come true.
W Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence is another story about a man persuing his dream. This story, first published in 1919, is about a stockbroker who leaves his convential London life to become a painter in Paris, eventually ending up in Tahiti. Based on the life of Paul Gaugin, it is a tale of discarded wife, children, lover, comfortable life, and friends in the persuance of an unarticulated dream. It took me a little while to get into this story, probably have not been reading enough classics of late, but worth the slight amount of effort required.