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Sleep Toward Heavenby Amanda Eyre Ward
Synopses & Reviews
Sleep Toward Heaven is a luminous story of murder and desire, solitude and grace, set in Manhattan and small-town Texas.
In Gatestown, twenty-nine-year old Karen awaits her execution on Death Row. In New York, Franny, a doctor the same age, plans her wedding and tries to resist her urge to run. In Austin, Celia, a brassy young librarian, mourns her lost husband.
Over the course of one summer, the three women?s disparate lives intertwine. Karen, Franny, and Celia all struggle to find their place in a world where nothing is sure, as they move toward one night that will change them all forever.
With razor-sharp prose and humor that ignites the page, Amanda Eyre Ward?s debut novel will keep you reading all night and give you something to talk about in the morning. Sleep Toward Heaven is a novel to celebrate and to savor.
"Intimate. Unflinching...very tough to put down. Ward's triumph is to humanize all of these characters...we cannot help but see ourselves." Pam Houston, O, The Oprah Magazine
"[A] delicate blend of compassion, humor and realism....Ward's celebration of human resilience never becomes preachy, sentimental or politically heavy-handed. Her spare but psychologically rich portraits are utterly convincing." Publishers Weekly
"Ward wants to write about lives changing but is stuck in a plot that must buckle....A worthy first effort from a writer still developing." Kirkus Reviews
"Ward's impressive debut novel is a powerhouse of melancholic emotions....Ward deftly creates a route by which all three women irrevocably touch each other's lives..." Booklist
"It's funny and sad and redemptive. Read it now. Thank me later."Jennifer Weiner, New York Times-bestselling author of Good in Bed and In her Shoes
"Faith, forgiveness and redemption comprise tried and true terrain in fiction. Ward delivers all three without manipulation or melodrama. She has woven a wonderful fictional tapestry with meaning embedded in the threads." Pat MacEnulty, Sun-Sentinel
"Women's Death Row as you have never seen it; hauntingly rich, wise and sharply etched. In prison parlance: a bonaroo first novel!" James Ellroy, author of The Cold Six Thousand and L.A. Confidential
"Sleep Toward Heaven is a riveting read, a page-turner from the get-go. In this ambitious debut novel, with cinematic scope and a probing eye, Amanda Eyre Ward takes her readers inside the criminal justice system and into the hearts and minds of three women a death row inmate dying of AIDS, the young widow of her last victim, and the kind, troubled prison doctor whose lives literally hang in each other's hands during a few desperately hot months of Texas summer." Thisbe Nissen, author of Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night and The Good People of New York
"This is a terrific read, involving and surprising. Ward gives us a textured, vivid portrait of women on death row. Her writing is unflinching, sometimes hauntingly funny, always compelling." Karen Stolz, author of Fanny and Sue and World of Pies
A small-press sensation in hardcover, Sleep Toward Heaven tells the story of three disparate women who are irrevocably connected by one crime and a brutal Texas summer on death row.
Amanda Eyre Ward's debut novel is an intimate portrait of three women whose lives collide during a brutal Texas summer.
In Gatestown, Texas, twenty-nine-year-old Karen Lowens awaits her execution with a host of convicted serial killers on death row. In Manhattan, Dr. Franny Wren, also twenty-nine, tends to a young cancer patient, and resists the urge to run from her fiancé and her carefully crafted life. In Austin, Texas, brassy Celia Mills, a once-vibrant librarian, mourns her murdered husband.
Over the course of the summer, fate pushes these eerily recognizable women together, culminating in a revelation of the possibility of faith, the responsibility of friendship, and the value of life. Sleep Toward Heaven is a luminous story of murder and desire, solitude and grace — a rare literary page-turner where redemption seems perpetually within arm's reach.
About the Author
Amanda Eyre Ward was born in New York City, and graduated from Williams College and the University of Montana. Her short stories have been published in various literary reviews and magazines. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, the geologist Tip Meckel. She is a regular contributor to the Austin Chronicle. This is her first novel.
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