For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Mona Simpson, and Jhumpa Lahiri comes a winning, irreverent debut novel about a family wrestling with its future and its past.
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.
Advance praise for "The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing"
"[An] emotionally bountiful debut . . . The author has a wonderful flair for recreating the messy sprawl of family life, with all its joy, sadness, frustration, and anger."--"Publishers Weekly"
"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"