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Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Faces, Two Dreams: A Novel Not To Be Forgotten

When She Sleeps
By Leora Krygier
Toby Press, 2004
ISBN: 1592640869
Adult/Mainstream Fiction
Author’s Site:

Toby Press, a small publishing house with a knack for discovering prize-winning authors features Leora Krygier’s When She Sleeps in their fall fiction lineup. It looks as if they have acquired another winner.

Leora Krygier weaves the enchanted world of Vietnam and the asphalt streets and privileged hillside homes of LA into an intricate story. When She Sleeps is as much about language and how we are shaped by it as it is about two girls in different parts of the world who are attached genetically to one another but who have no knowledge of the other’s existence. Out of neglect and destitution, the child of war-stricken Saigon takes to living her Vietnamese mother’s life through the fragile woman’s dreams; the American daughter of a doctor in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley finds little sleep and when she does, it is troubled.

Two stories are told with distinctive voices that somehow are entwined. Their real lives throb with vibrant sights, sounds and smells while their dream sequences feel much like a song that was sung in the past and remains with us as we walk our every day lives. The reader comes to understand the emotional needs that draw the two to one another; the sisters are like two parts of a Miz Pah coin, each worn as a charm by strangers a half globe away. Inevitably the jagged edges begin to fit and the mystery of their lives is revealed.

Krygier has woven a kind of magical realism that fits this literary category and, at once, is uniquely her own. Publishers often become jaded, believing that there nothing new is offered to them; some don’t recognize it when it comes to sit in their laps. This press deserves much credit for taking a chance on a story entirely its own, on a book--from the story line to the melody--consuming and beautiful.

This book is out of print but you should still be able to get it on Amazon's New and Used feature. The author is also wrote another book I love, First the Raven.

The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've loved. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by author names, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the index handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.
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