Thursday, 7 August 2014

Review: The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob's debut novel is a beautiful tale that spans continents and a timeframe of twenty years to tell a story of culture, family, grieving and loss. The novel opens with the Eapen family--father Thomas, mother Kamala, brother Akhil and the novel's protagonist Amina returning to India for a visit after an absence of some years. Their absence has been acutely felt by the somewhat frightening members of the India-based branch of the Eapen family and ends on a frightening note. Soon afterward, Thomas gains the ability to talk to ghosts and a terrible prophecy made by his brother comes true.

Mixing magic realism with themes of family, duty and immigration, the novel tells of the Eapen family's new life in America and the effect that the death of various family members--both in the United States and India--has on this fragile family unit. Although the novel is quite long, I found myself utterly absorbed by the story and keen to know more about what would become of the Eapen family, in particular Thomas. Were his visions caused by a brain tumour or were are other forces at play? (You'll have to read and find out.)

Well written and highly recommended.

Shout out to The Reading Room and Bloomsbury for my review copy. Thanks!