The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing Summary and Reviews

The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing

by Mira Jacob

The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob X
The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2014
    512 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

With depth, heart, and agility, debut novelist Mira Jacob takes us on a deftly plotted journey that ranges from 1970s India to suburban 1980s New Mexico to Seattle during the dot.com boom. The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is an epic, irreverent testimony to the bonds of love, the pull of hope, and the power of making peace with life's uncertainties.

Celebrated brain surgeon Thomas Eapen has been sitting on his porch, talking to dead relatives. At least that is the story his wife, Kamala, prone to exaggeration, tells their daughter, Amina, a photographer living in Seattle.

Reluctantly Amina returns home and finds a situation that is far more complicated than her mother let on, with roots in a trip the family, including Amina's rebellious brother Akhil, took to India twenty years earlier. Confronted by Thomas's unwillingness to explain himself, strange looks from the hospital staff, and a series of puzzling items buried in her mother's garden, Amina soon realizes that the only way she can help her father is by coming to terms with her family's painful past. In doing so, she must reckon with the ghosts that haunt all of the Eapens.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Comparisons of Jacob to Jhumpa Lahiri are inevitable; Lahiri may be more overtly profound, Jacob more willing to go for comedy, but both write with naked honesty about the uneasy generational divide among Indians in America and about family in all its permutations." - Kirkus

"Although overlong, the novel, through its lovingly created and keenly observed characters, makes something new of the Indian immigrant experience in America." - Publishers Weekly

"That the past is always present in their lives provides a dramatic tension that at once brings them together and threatens to drive them apart. Jacob has done an excellent job of balancing these elements as she has created a memorable and dramatic portrait of a family in flux." - Booklist

"Punchy, clever, and stuffed with delicious chapatis, Mira Jacob's first novel jumps effortlessly from India to the States, creating a vibrant portrait of a world in flux." - Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure

"The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing seizes the reader early and never lets go. Its electricities reside in Mira Jacob's acute details and the sadness, anger, and humor of her characters." - Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts
 
"Mira Jacob has written an utterly dazzling, epic debut. The story of an Indian American family is at once completely relatable and totally fresh. A beautifully timed novel, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is intricately woven and sparklingly played out, and it triumphs." - Julie Klam, author of Friendkeeping
 
"I read this in one sitting. I couldn't have stopped - wouldn't even have noticed - if my house had caught fire. Mira Jacob is a born storyteller and a fantastic writer." - Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life

"The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is a time-traveling multigenerational saga that still remains intimate in its feel and central focus. For all of its witty and loving attention to the power of familial bonds, it is most eloquent on the subject of a grief so profound that its everyday weight pulls the grievers closer to the dead than to the living. And yet the overall effect, miraculously, is celebratory." - Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad

The information about The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob is the founder of Pete's Reading Series in New York City and has an MFA from the New School for Social Research. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is her first novel.

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