I don't remember what I was thinking when I requested an advanced reader's copy of The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing. I know when it showed up in the mail, however, I was wondering why I had wanted this book in the first place. The premise and the cover no longer enticed me. I set it aside and put off reading it until the last minute. I believe the fates must have been looking out for me when I originally requested this book because it was great.
One of my concerns was that this was going to be yet another story of the Indian diaspora in America. That's a great story and all, but it's been played out. There are certainly elements of that story here, but they're minor and it's not the focus. The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is a delightfully-written story of career, family, and destiny—all those things that make people love Star Wars. Seriously, people should be standing in line to read this book. The prose is fantastic. The story remains interesting and poignant through all its 500 pages. It's wonderful, and it does so much. Mira Jacob goes back and forth between places and time, and she does so without a hiccup. There are so many subplots going on, yet they all fit together and are not only terrific in their own right, but relevant to the larger story. It flows so seamlessly that you have to applaud the author and her editors. The characters are detailed. The dialogue is witty. The story itself has moments of humor and heartbreak. I really enjoyed this book.
The biggest problem I foresee this novel facing is that it is being published in a year with so many great novels. If it doesn't get the right publicity, doesn't hit the target audience, doesn't attract enough prepub attention, this debut may be ignored on the lists of the year's best. I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen. Take note, this is one of the most compelling, breathtaking, and lyrical books to be published this year. It's full of life. Put it on your to-read list now and if you want to thank me, you can do so later.