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When She Sleeps

Leora Krygier

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Toby Press

Published : 2004

Copyright : Leora Krygier 2004

ISBN-10 : HB 1-59264-086-9
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-59264-0867

Publisher's Write-Up

Years after the fall of Saigon, half-sisters Lucy and Mai find one another in the world of dreams. Mai is the Amerasian child of Aaron Freedman, a former U.S. Army surgeon and son of Jewish refugees, and a Vietnamese linguist, Linh. Although the surgeon had promised to leave his American wife and daughter for Linh and her infant, in the chaos of the American evacuation, they were left behind. Now both the girls are teenagers.

Bereft of a father, Mai lays claim to what she believes is rightfully hers–her mother's memories of the doctor, locked away in Linh's dreams. She steals them away, and "sends" them out into the night to her half-sister Lucy. Meanwhile, Lucy finds a haven from her parents' secrets and the devastating loss of entire family in the Holocaust in her darkroom where she transforms photographs into dreamscapes. Gradually, telepathically, like an image slowly surfacing, Lucy finds herself mystically transported to the half-sister she's never met, dreaming of the lush landscape of her father's infidelity.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (070805) Rating (9/10)

Review by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Rating 9/10
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 line-up. It looks as if they have acquired another winner.

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.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson (7th August 2005)

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