A National Book Award Finalist, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's enchanting and inventive first novel is a groundbreaking, contemporary classic
When a girl falls into a mysterious, impenetrable sleep, the borders between her provincial French village and the peculiar, beguiling realm of her dreams begin to disappear: A fat woman sprouts delicate wings and takes flight; a failed photographer stumbles into the role of pornographer; a beautiful young wife grows to resemble her husband's viol. Madeleine, the dreamer, travels in their midst, trying to make sense of her own metamorphosis. She leaves home, joins a gypsy circus, and falls into an unexpected triangle of desire and love.
Embracing the earthy and the ethereal, the comical and the poignant, Madeleine Is Sleeping is part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, and above all, an adventure in the discovery of art, sexuality, community, and the self.
"A small, enchanting novel that appeals to the naughty, insolent child in each of us." —USA Today
"Luminous and daring . . Each delicious chapter – usually a page or less – is like a half-remembered episode from the depths of sleep, as indelible as it is fleeting. Story lines emerge, become entangled and then fade into the ether. And just when we think this oddball narrative is about to rise to the surface of wakefulness, we’re plunged once again into blissful doubt. The effect is haunting." —Los Angeles Times
"Audacious . . . extravagantly imagined . . . the novel is lovely." —The New York Times
"Almost every page offers something original, and no one will close “Madeleine Is Sleeping” without rediscovering how profound – and profoundly strange – adolescence is." —People