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Madeleine Is Sleeping (Harvest Book)

by

Madeleine Is Sleeping (Harvest Book) Cover

ISBN13: 9780156032278
ISBN10: 0156032279
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

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: these are all characters in Sarah Shun Li Bynum's marvelous gem of a novel. Composed in deceptively simple vignettes, Madeleine Is Sleeping follows the life of a young comatose girl in provincial France as she joins a circus, entangles herself in a bizarre love triangle, and discovers the power behind the dreamed and the experienced, the delicate and the grotesque, in the discovery of art, sexuality, and community.
Recommended by Crystal, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When a girl falls into a deep and 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. And in their midst travels Madeleine, the dreamer, who is trying to make sense of her own metamorphosis as she leaves home, joins a gypsy circus, and falls into an unexpected triangle of desire and love.

An extraordinary debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping received jubilant critical acclaim and was honored with a National Book Award nomination. Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, this "dream of a book" (Michael Cunningham) is an adventure in the discovery of art, sexuality, community, and the self.

Review:

"An immensely obese woman who sprouts two magnificent pairs of wings, a lonely housewife who grows strings to match her husband's viol and a lascivious, wealthy widow are just a few of the fantastical characters who populate the enchanting world of Bynum's debut. Written in brief, dreamy segments (appropriately enough, since the title character has fallen into a Sleeping Beauty-like slumber), the book alternates deftly between reality and illusion as it follows Madeleine down a path of sexual, artistic and personal discovery. In a perverse revisitation of Ludwig Bemelmans's classic children's books, Madeleine, exiled to a Parisian convent from her pastoral French home after committing a rather scientific sex act with the village idiot, joins a band of gypsies who wind up performing for a widow with a love of photography and a penchant for the pornographic. As Madeleine grows entwined in an intensely erotic love triangle with the "flatulent man," M. Pujol, and Adrien, the photographer assigned to document the widow's grotesquely arranged tableaux, life at home grows worse for the family holding vigil over her as she sleeps. The book culminates in a masterful merge between Madeleine's waking life and her dreams, making it impossible to discern whether reality ever existed in Bynum's imaginative tale. Replete with Kafkaesque metamorphoses, Freudian fantasies, Aesopian justice and religious metaphor, the novel is equal parts fairy tale, fable, romance and bildungsroman. At times, the allegorical allusions grow predictable, and some readers may be put off by the constant shifts and uncertainty between fact and fiction. Others looking for a challenging, unusual read will be thrilled by the imagination and mysterious energy that haunt this remarkable debut." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information)

Review:

"Bynum's lush, poetic imagery is full of vivid, sensuous details one can almost smell, taste, and feel... Achingly human and poignantly telling." The Boston Globe

Review:

"Masterful...a voice at once sensuous and humorous, mellifluous and matter-of-fact" Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Bynum's voice is vivid, her use of language incisive and surprising." BookForum

Review:

"Extravagantly imagined...a fantasy influenced by writers from Ludwig Bemelmans to Angela Carter." New York Times

Review:

"Hypnotic.... A small, enchanting novel that appeals to the naughty, insolent child in each of us." USA Today

Synopsis:

When a girl falls into a deep and impenetrable sleep, the borders between her provincial French village and the peculiar, beguiling realm of her dreams begin to disappear. Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, this is an adventure in the discovery of art, sexuality, community, and self.

Synopsis:

"A haunting, genre-breaking novel with all the narrative energy of a mystery yet all the careful lyricism of a prose poem."--ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, this enchanting novel follows the dreams of a girl who has fallen mysteriously into a deep, impenetrable sleep. The fantastic mingles with the real as the dreaming Madeleine leaves home, joins a gypsy circus, and stumbles into an unexpected triangle of desire, in this richly imagined adventure that transcends time and place.

"Bynum makes readers question the extent to which we may be sleepwalking through our lives. And she asks us to discover what our own dreams can teach us. The result is a small, enchanting novel that appeals to the naughty, insolent child in each of us."--USA Today

"The tale-telling is delicate, grave and almost evanescent . . . A voice at once sensuous and humorous, mellifluous and matter-of-fact."--The Washington Post Book World

"Luminous and daring."--Los Angeles Times

"Bynum's lush, poetic imagery is full of vivid, sensuous details one can almost smell, taste, and feel . . . Achingly human and poignantly telling."--The Boston Globe

"Audacious . . . extravagantly imagined . . . the novel is lovely."--The New York Times

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's fiction has appeared in the Georgia Review, TriQuarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004. She lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles, and teaches at the University of California, San Diego. Madeleine Is

Sleeping is her first novel.

About the Author

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum's fiction has appeared in the Georgia Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. She lives in Los Angeles.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Lisa Brown, September 1, 2010 (view all comments by Lisa Brown)
from the gypsy who isn't really a gypsy to the female alto who only wishes to play male heroes, from the title character to the difference between the waking world and dreaming, nothing in this book is as clear-cut as it might at first appear. from cover to cover, the story is drenched in a syrup of surrealism that is sure to delight while at the same time keep you guessing. not your average narrative. highly recommended for fans of salvador dali or the films of michel gondry.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780156032278
Author:
Bynum, Sarah Shun-Lien
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Sleep
Subject:
Young women
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Harvest Book
Publication Date:
20051131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
276
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.58 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » New Yorker 20 under 40
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Madeleine Is Sleeping (Harvest Book) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 276 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P - English 9780156032278 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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: these are all characters in Sarah Shun Li Bynum's marvelous gem of a novel. Composed in deceptively simple vignettes, Madeleine Is Sleeping follows the life of a young comatose girl in provincial France as she joins a circus, entangles herself in a bizarre love triangle, and discovers the power behind the dreamed and the experienced, the delicate and the grotesque, in the discovery of art, sexuality, and community.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "An immensely obese woman who sprouts two magnificent pairs of wings, a lonely housewife who grows strings to match her husband's viol and a lascivious, wealthy widow are just a few of the fantastical characters who populate the enchanting world of Bynum's debut. Written in brief, dreamy segments (appropriately enough, since the title character has fallen into a Sleeping Beauty-like slumber), the book alternates deftly between reality and illusion as it follows Madeleine down a path of sexual, artistic and personal discovery. In a perverse revisitation of Ludwig Bemelmans's classic children's books, Madeleine, exiled to a Parisian convent from her pastoral French home after committing a rather scientific sex act with the village idiot, joins a band of gypsies who wind up performing for a widow with a love of photography and a penchant for the pornographic. As Madeleine grows entwined in an intensely erotic love triangle with the "flatulent man," M. Pujol, and Adrien, the photographer assigned to document the widow's grotesquely arranged tableaux, life at home grows worse for the family holding vigil over her as she sleeps. The book culminates in a masterful merge between Madeleine's waking life and her dreams, making it impossible to discern whether reality ever existed in Bynum's imaginative tale. Replete with Kafkaesque metamorphoses, Freudian fantasies, Aesopian justice and religious metaphor, the novel is equal parts fairy tale, fable, romance and bildungsroman. At times, the allegorical allusions grow predictable, and some readers may be put off by the constant shifts and uncertainty between fact and fiction. Others looking for a challenging, unusual read will be thrilled by the imagination and mysterious energy that haunt this remarkable debut." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information)
"Review" by , "Bynum's lush, poetic imagery is full of vivid, sensuous details one can almost smell, taste, and feel... Achingly human and poignantly telling."
"Review" by , "Masterful...a voice at once sensuous and humorous, mellifluous and matter-of-fact"
"Review" by , "Bynum's voice is vivid, her use of language incisive and surprising."
"Review" by , "Extravagantly imagined...a fantasy influenced by writers from Ludwig Bemelmans to Angela Carter."
"Review" by , "Hypnotic.... A small, enchanting novel that appeals to the naughty, insolent child in each of us."
"Synopsis" by , When a girl falls into a deep and impenetrable sleep, the borders between her provincial French village and the peculiar, beguiling realm of her dreams begin to disappear. Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, this is an adventure in the discovery of art, sexuality, community, and self.
"Synopsis" by ,
"A haunting, genre-breaking novel with all the narrative energy of a mystery yet all the careful lyricism of a prose poem."--ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, this enchanting novel follows the dreams of a girl who has fallen mysteriously into a deep, impenetrable sleep. The fantastic mingles with the real as the dreaming Madeleine leaves home, joins a gypsy circus, and stumbles into an unexpected triangle of desire, in this richly imagined adventure that transcends time and place.

"Bynum makes readers question the extent to which we may be sleepwalking through our lives. And she asks us to discover what our own dreams can teach us. The result is a small, enchanting novel that appeals to the naughty, insolent child in each of us."--USA Today

"The tale-telling is delicate, grave and almost evanescent . . . A voice at once sensuous and humorous, mellifluous and matter-of-fact."--The Washington Post Book World

"Luminous and daring."--Los Angeles Times

"Bynum's lush, poetic imagery is full of vivid, sensuous details one can almost smell, taste, and feel . . . Achingly human and poignantly telling."--The Boston Globe

"Audacious . . . extravagantly imagined . . . the novel is lovely."--The New York Times

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's fiction has appeared in the Georgia Review, TriQuarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004. She lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles, and teaches at the University of California, San Diego. Madeleine Is

Sleeping is her first novel.

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