The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing has a title that screams out “read me”. So I did! I happened upon it while browsing library e-books to download to my Kindle and overall I wasn’t disappointed. I did find it tediously boring in the first few chapters as the plot was being built. I couldn’t bring myself to have any empathy with anybody’s sob story. And even though I realized early enough that several calamities had happened in the past I wasn’t actually yearning to find out what had happened.
That said, once I got into the book, I found it engrossing. The story line was good, though drawn out, and moving actually. In the end, I could feel the warmth of family. I wonder though if my displeasure with the book is actually displeasure
with the mother, Kamala, whose character irritated me. That must mean that
this is an excellently written book, right?
It’s a story of a bunch of Syrian Christian Indian immigrants in Albuquerque, New Mexico and their children each wrestling with both their future and their past. Similar to other immigrant books I read, there’s the self-loathing, questioning of identify, and of course the bonding over food, lots and lots of food. It weaves back and forth from Seattle, Washington, to Salem, India, to Albuquerque while spanning the 1970s to the 1990s. There are a lot of sub-plots tied in which if you are not paying attention will certainly trip you up. But they all come together quite nicely by the end of the novel to give you a story very unlike other Indian-American immigrant stories.
The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, which took ten years to write, is the critically acclaimed debut novel of Mira Jacob.