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Close Your Eyes: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 273 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

A Letter from Author Amanda Eyre Ward
I grew up in Rye, New York, a small town outside of New York City. In 1988, I was sixteen years old. I smoked cigarettes in my room, thinking Trident gum would mask the scent. I made a fake ID and laminated it at the library, then used the ID to visit bars in nearby towns: Bumper’s, Streets, Tammany Hall.

On January 1, 1989, my friends and I woke up, heads pounding, in the living room of a stranger’s apartment in Manhattan. We walked to Grand Central and rode the Stamford local back to Rye. By mid-day, we heard that during the midnight hours of New Year’s Eve, there had been a murder in Larchmont, a neighboring town.

An Indian couple, both doctors, had been stabbed to death in their bedroom, throats slashed, their bodies mutilated. It seemed impossible that something like this could happen in the suburbs. Fear travelled silently along the Boston Post Road, past Baskin Robbins and the Smoke Shop, to Dogwood Lane, where I lived with my family in a stunningly beautiful home. To me, the message was clear: danger was everywhere.

The murder was not solved. Four-and-a-half years went by. My parents split up, and I went to college. I thought about the murder from time to time, trying to understand how a stranger had broken the spell of Rye, smashed through the safety we had all thought money could buy.

In 1993, we found out that the murderer was one of us, a teenage boy, a local. The son of a bank president. He had been blind drunk, he told a room full of people at an AA meeting. He was afraid he may have broken a door pane, entered his childhood home, where his family no longer lived, taken a knife from a kitchen drawer, and savagely attacked the strangers sleeping in his parents’ bedroom. He later said he didn’t remember anything about it. He had been in an alcoholic blackout, but now he had nightmares.

At his trial, a psychiatrist said, "Probably the most typical behavior during a blackout is finding the way home....It's almost as if he were going back in time and eliminating the people that he sought to blame for all his problems back when he was seven years old."

He is now in jail.

The story of the New Year’s Eve murder has always stayed with me, and eventually evolved into Close Your Eyes. I think, in writing the book, I wanted not only to understand what happened to a boy who was one of us, what made him into a murderer, but also to create a world where this wrong was righted, and a broken town was sewn back together. I wanted to imagine a town that was loving and safe, a place that might never have existed in real life.


Advance praise for Close Your Eyes
“With the deft hand of an assured storyteller, Amanda Eyre Ward has concocted a dark yet tender tale about two grown siblings struggling to forge normal lives in the wake of an unimaginably shattering crisis: the conviction of their father for the murder of their mother. It is a tale of twists, turns, secrets, and surprises—all the more engaging for its finely drawn characters. Ward understands just how our flaws betray us and how redemption always comes at a price—yet her deep empathy makes this, ultimately, a story about the power of trust in the people we love.”—Julia Glass, author of The Widower’s Tale

Close Your Eyes doesn’t hook you as much as it spins a delicate but powerful web around you. Amanda Eyre Ward goes straight to the heart of her complex, nuanced characters, and with empathy and insight she lays them bare. As a reader, you’re powerless against the elegance of her prose and the emotional honesty of her story. You’ll close the cover on this book, but you won’t forget it.”—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Fragile
“Amanda Eyre Ward has given us a book that is both beautifully wrought and intensely gripping. I was transfixed by this story of a woman haunted by loss but making her brave, difficult way toward truth.”—Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of Belong to Me
Close Your Eyes is electrifying, a literary whodunit of the first order—breathless and disturbing and hopeful and true. You won’t be able to look away. People will be talking about this book.”—Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of The Passage

“I absolutely loved this beautiful, haunting story of a woman who learns to come to terms with a dark, de...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3122 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (July 26, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 26, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WLQ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Amanda Eyre Ward was born in New York City in 1972. Her family moved to Rye, New York when she was four. Amanda attended Kent School in Kent, CT, where she wrote for the Kent News.

Amanda majored in English and American Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She studied fiction writing with Jim Shepard and spent her junior fall in coastal Kenya. She worked part-time at the Williamstown Public Library. After graduation, Amanda taught at Athens College in Greece for a year, and then moved to Missoula, Montana.

Amanda studied fiction writing at the University of Montana with Bill Kittredge, Dierdre McNamer, Debra Earling, and Kevin Canty, receiving her MFA. After traveling to Egypt, she took a job at the University of Montana Mansfield Library, working in Inter Library Loan.

In 1998, Amanda moved to Austin, Texas where she began working on Sleep Toward Heaven. She wrote for the Austin Chronicle and worked for a variety of Internet startups. In 1999, Amanda won third prize in the Austin Chronicle short story contest with her story Miss Montana's Wedding Day.

She published Butte as in Beautiful that same year.

In July, 2000, Amanda married the geologist Tip Meckel in Ouray, Colorado.

They spent a summer in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Amanda wrote the short stories The Beginning of the Wrong Novel and Classified.

During that summer, Amanda finished Sleep Toward Heaven, which was published in 2003. Sleep Toward Heaven won the Violet Crown Book Award and was optioned for film by Sandra Bullock and Fox Searchlight. To promote Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda, her baby, and her mother Mary-Anne Westley traveled to London and Paris.

Amanda moved to Waterville, Maine, where she wrote in an attic filled with books. Amanda's second novel, How to Be Lost, was published in 2004. How to Be Lost was selected as a Target Bookmarked pick, and has been published in fifteen countries.

After one year in Maine and two years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Amanda and her family returned to Austin, Texas.

To research her third novel, Forgive Me, Amanda traveled with her sister, Liza Ward Bennigson, to Cape Town, South Africa. Forgive Me was published in 2007.

Amanda's short story collection, Love Stories in This Town, was published in April, 2009.

Her new novel, Close Your Eyes, will be published in July, 2011.

Amanda currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her two young boys.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Free2Read on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amanda Eyre Ward's works delight, impress, and encourage me. Her "Sleep Towards Heaven" is one of my top-ten favorite books. This new title, "Close Your Eyes," is equally emotionally addictive.
Lauren and Alex lose their parents when Lauren is six and Alex is eight in a most unexpected way: their mother is murdered while they sleep in their tree house. The only person suspected, and ultimately convicted, is their father.

Their father is Egyptian. This alone brings prejudice into their lives. When he is convicted of the murder, the children move in with their worn-out grandparents and after a year when the gravestone is set on their mother's grave, they are expected to stop grieving, to cope with getting on with their lives. Alex becomes a doctor, a Harvard grad. Lauren goes to University of Texas, becomes a real estate agent, and lands in a relationship with the spacey though sweet Gerry. Gerry runs the Mr. Cheapskate blog and youtube show, and living with him is somewhat funny, somewhat painful.

Alex is everything that keeps Lauren grounded. He chooses to become part of Doctors Without Borders, and when he does, Lauren begins to unravel with increasing panic attacks. She cannot live this way, with no one but the feckless Gerry in her life.

I was thrown off pace as Part II opened with new characters, Sylvia and Victoria. Not to worry, for soon Ward brings our interest to their stories of poverty and privilege respectively in New York. We are lured into a new circle of doubt.

The ending of this book surprises and satisfies. This is another compelling read by Amanda Eyre Ward. There are many beautiful passages and memorable scenes. I won't put in any spoilers here, but if you read, read with a highlighter! Ward's style captures the moment in fresh new imagery.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When Lauren Mahdian is six years old, her father murders her mother. She remembers very little about that night, but her older brother Alex has always maintained their father is innocent.

Close Your Eyes is a gripping thriller from beginning to end. What sets it apart from other thrillers, however, is the lack of imminent danger. It is a character-driven thriller, and I could not put it down. I was drawn into Lauren's world; she now lives in Austin with her boyfriend and works as a real estate agent, but she still struggles with her memories (or lack thereof) of the evening of her mother's death. I won't share much more because this short novel is best experienced by reading it not reading about it.

Close Your Eyes captivated me from beginning to end. I read it in a single day and thoroughly enjoyed the story. It's a testament to the strength of Ward's story and writing that even after the mystery became clear, the novel still had momentum.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wow. I have very little time for reading these days as a working mom, but I couldn't wait to get into bed every night to tear into Close Your Eyes. While it usually takes me weeks to finish a book, this one was done in days. I couldn't wait to solve the mystery, to find out what happens next, but at the same time I didn't want it to end. It's been a long time since I have been so attached to the characters in a novel; when they are depicted so carefully that you feel as though they are your friends, your neighbors, or yourself. Ward does it again - taking a dark and despairing subject matter and making it utterly enjoyable to read. My only complaint is that it was over too soon!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BemisReviewsBooks on August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The story of the murder of a 46 year old mother as her 2 children, 8 year old Alex and his 6 year old sister Lauren slept outdoors in a treehouse on the property of their beloved New York home doesn't live up to its potential. Alex and Lauren's father is spending life in prison for their mother's murder in spite of indefinite proof that it was he who killed her. We follow the broken lives of Alex and Lauren as they navigate their way. Now in their thirties, they suffer from the trauma of this horrific past event as well as a lack of closure. Alex believes in his father's innocence while Lauren thinks him guilty and has cut off all contact. By the end of part one Alex, who has joined Doctor's Without Borders and has left the country, disappears. The story suddenly and abruptly switches over to a new central character, Sylvia, whose connection to Alex and Lauren is slowly revealed along with Sylvia's best friend Victoria, a severely troubled drug addict whose life is unraveling. The meeting at the end of the book between Lauren and Sylvia was nonsensical in that Lauren seemed to be unaware of who Sylvia was though she should have been. The story does offer resolution in the end but by the time all was revealed, it felt completely anticlimatic. Even the connections between the characters felt weak and unresolved. Also Lauren's bout with the symptoms of what can only be described as post traumatic stress disorder were ridiculously poofed away as soon as the mysteries of her life were worked out.

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ward tells a story of charmingly quirky and flawed characters haunted by the past. This book captured me, and I had to know what would happen. Great read--satisfying to the last page. Loved the characters, loved the story, loved the writing. Best book I've read in months!
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