Author(s): Mira Jacob
Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one stands out in Amina's memory. It is 1979, in Salem India, when a visit to her grandmother's house escalates into an explosive encounter, pitching brother against brother, mother against son. In its aftermath, Amina's father Thomas rushes his family back to their new home in America. And while at first it seems that the intercontinental flight has taken them out of harm's way, his decision sets off a chain of events that will forever haunt Thomas and his wife Kamala; their intellectually furious son, Akhil and the watchful young Amina. Now, twenty years later, Amina receives a phone call from her mother. Thomas has been acting strangely and Kamala needs her daughter back. Amina returns to the New Mexico of her childhood, where her mother has always filled silences with food, only to discover that getting to the truth is not as easy as going home. Confronted with Thomas's unwillingness to talk, Kamala's Born Again convictions, and the suspicion that not everything is what it seems, Amina finds herself at the centre of a mystery so tangled that to make any headway, she has to excavate her family's painful past. And in doing so she must lay her own ghosts to rest.
The story of a family, divided across generations and cultures, wrestling with its future and its past, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is at once magical, mouth-watering and heartbreaking
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 Super Sad True Love Story In this beautifully observed, generous debut that reaches right into the heart of family and belonging, Mira Jacob shows how grief and loss can illuminate everything Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow 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 and Home Land 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 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 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 This 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! 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 and Like You'd Understand Anyway
Mira Jacob is the founder of Pete's Reading Series in Brooklyn and has a MFA from the New School for Social Research. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, film-maker Jed Rothstein, and their son. This is her first novel. @mirajacob