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The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing: A Novel by [Jacob, Mira]
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4.4 out of 5 stars 389 customer reviews

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Length: 513 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This atmospheric behemoth of a book, Jacob’s ambitious first novel, follows the fortunes of the Eapens, an Indian American family dealing with tragedy and loss. Told from the perspective of daughter Amina, a 30-year-old professional photographer, the book moves backward and forward in time from 1979, which finds the Eapens on a visit to India; to 1983, when tragedy first strikes the family, now living in Albuquerque, New Mexico; to 1998, when that same tragedy, which involved Amina’s firebrand older brother, Akhil, revisits the family as Amina’s father, Thomas, faces a possibly terminal illness. Jacob has written a closely observed, scrupulously detailed story of an extended family dealing with the difficulties of living in America and with each other. 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. --Michael Cart

Review

“With wit and a rich understanding of human foibles, [Mira] Jacob unspools a story that will touch your heart.”—People
 
“Jacob’s novel is light and optimistic, unpretentious and refreshingly witty. Jacob has created characters with evident care and treats them with gentleness even as they fight viciously with each other. Her prose is sharp and true and deeply funny. . . . This is the literary fiction I will be recommending to everyone this summer, especially those who love multigenerational, multicultural family sagas.”—Associated Press
 
“This debut novel so fully envelops the reader in the soul of an Indian-American immigrant family that it's heart-wrenching to part with them. . . . Thanks to Jacob’s captivating voice, which is by turns hilarious and tender and always attuned to shifts of emotion, her characters shimmer with life. [Grade:] A-”Entertainment Weekly

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a rich, engrossing debut told with lightness and care, as smart about grief as it is about the humor required to transcend it.”—The Kansas City Star 

“[A] sprawling, poignant, often humorous novel that’s worth missing cocktails on the deck in order to finish a chapter . . . Told with humor and sympathy for its characters, the book serves as a bittersweet lesson in the binding power of family, even when we seek to break out from it.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Beautifully wrought, frequently funny, gently heartbreaking . . . Moving forward and back in time, Jacob balances comedy and romance with indelible sorrow, and she is remarkably adept at tonal shifts. When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things.”—The Boston Globe

“Always engrossing and often feels so true to life that it’s a surprise that it’s not.”—The Austin Chronicle

“Comparisons of Jacob to Jhumpa Lahiri are inevitable; . . . both write with naked honesty about the uneasy generational divide among Indians in America and about family in all its permutations.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“[Jacob] has a wonderful flair for recreating the messy sprawl of family life, with all its joy, sadness, frustration, and anger.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Jacob’s writing is refreshing, and she excels at creating a powerful bond between the reader and her characters, all wonderfully drawn and with idiosyncratic natures—the mother, Kamala, for instance, is a born-again Christian—that make them enchanting. Recommended for those who like engaging fiction that succeeds in addressing serious issues with some humor.”Library Journal
 
“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. This novel tells many wonderful stories while also telling, beautifully, the story that counts the most.”—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. I did not want this breathtaking book to end.”—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. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a truly great book.”—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 Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is an effortlessly gorgeous and rich book. Its prose is lovely and precise, alternately luminous and direct; its observations of people and families and the physical world are poignant and a delight. The dialogue is sharp, funny, and true. This is a triumphant debut!”—Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!
 
“What a thrill to discover Mira Jacob, a warm, witty new voice in American fiction. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is both rich and wise. I savored every page.”—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to Be Lost

Product details

  • File Size: 2204 KB
  • Print Length: 513 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408841150
  • Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Publication Date: July 1, 2014
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HP3Q572
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,964 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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