Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
July 04, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Mira Jacob
publisher
Random House
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

This debut novel so fully envelops the reader in the soul of an Indian-American immigrant family that it’s heart-wrenching to part with them. The plot itself is straightforward: When her father falls ill, Amina Eapen goes home to see him and becomes immersed, once again, in her family’s various grievances and disagreements. A few conflicts flirt with cliché — her mother’s unhappiness with Amina’s lack of suitors, especially Indian ones; the arguments that arise among the histrionic cast of fellow Indians who form the Eapens’ American family. But thanks to Jacob’s captivating voice, which is by turns hilarious and tender and always attuned to shifts of emotion, her characters shimmer with life. A-

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