reviews

From The Boston Globe:

Moving forward and back in time, Jacob balances comedy and romance with indelible sorrow, and she is remarkably adept at tonal shifts. When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things. She also makes some dicey bits of her basic setup — a brain surgeon with something awry in his head, a photographer who closes her eyes to what’s right in front of her — seem not overly obvious but inevitably human.”

From the Kansas City Star:

“For a novel that spans continents, cultures and decades, Jacob never loses the core of those familial connections, and she has a knack for surprising readers with glimpses of gentleness and vulnerability in even the most unforgiving scenes and characters. “The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing” is a rich, engrossing debut told with lightness and care, as smart about grief as it is about the humor required to transcend it.”

From Hindustan Times:

Notions of connection and rupture, voyeurism and secrecy are expertly threaded through this luminous novel, where comedy and sadness are uniquely conjoined and where even food, lavishly depicted in Jacob’s trademark melodic prose, is like a secret language.”

From Oprah Magazine:

Told with humor and sympathy for its characters, the book serves as a bittersweet lesson in the binding power of family, even when we seek to break out from it.

From Book Reporter:

“…uncommonly easy to like, right from the first pages.”

From Bustle:

“A debut novel that stands out from the summer reading pack as one of 2014’s best books yet…”

From People.com:

“This is a book for any and everyone.”

From South China Morning Post:

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is that rare novel that manages to evoke mirth and tears simultaneously.”

From India Today:

“As you look at Jacob’s novel through Amina’s camera, ordinariness turns extraordinary, so much so that you may even find a ghost on the edge of a photo. In Jacob’s New Mexico, the dead and the living splendidly come alive.”

From Mint:

“Told from the perspective of Amina—daughter of Thomas and Kamala Eapen, who moved from Salem, in Tamil Nadu, to Albuquerque, in the US, half a century ago—Jacob’s novel harks back to an illustrious line of stories on the Indian diaspora in North America. From Bharati Mukherjee’s prickly family dramas to the delicious rituals of cooking and eating in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s novels to Jhumpa Lahiri’s hawk-eyed attention to everyday detail, a range of influences are brewed into a potent concoction in The Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing, then blended with the comic energy of a Woody Allen movie and the tragic intensity of Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things.”

From Barnes & Noble:

“Dazzling and irreverent, witty and profound, this is a family saga of the most engaging kind: heartbreaking, hopeful, and alive on the page — which is why we had to make it one of our Summer 2014 Discover Great New Writers selections.”

“Even as it deals with weighty, dark subjects like loss and grief, and the struggles of an immigrant family, Jacob’s novel is light and optimistic, unpretentious and refreshingly witty. Jacob has created characters with evident care and treats them with gentleness even as they fight viciously with each other. Her prose is sharp and true and deeply funny. The book is 500 pages long and had I the luxury of time I would have read it in one sitting. This is the literary fiction I will be recommending to everyone this summer, especially those who love multigenerational, multicultural family sagas.”

—The Associated Press

“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. …[T]hanks 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-”
—Entertainment Weekly

“Comparisons of Jacob to Jhumpa Lahiri are inevitable; Lahiri may be more overtly profound, Jacob more willing to go for comedy, but both write with naked honesty about the uneasy generational divide among Indians in America and about family in all its permutations.”
—Kirkus, Starred Review

“In this sprawling debut, and Indian family makes a bumpy adjustment to life in the U.S. There are stormy relationships, mutinous teens, eccentric relatives bearing food and a tragedy that reverberates throughout the years. With wit and a rich understanding of human foibles, Jacob unspools a story that will touch your heart.”
—People

“Mira Jacob makes a resounding entrance onto the literary stage with her first novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. It’s a bold debut with a powerful pulsing heart in which Jacob freshly captures the complexities of the Indian immigrant experience. The book is at once a messy, joyous, painful, and tender portrait of modern family life illustrated through the eyes of Amina Eapen and the complicated characters of her Indian-American family.”
—Bustle

“Mira Jacob is one of those writers who lives so deeply inside everything that it is to be human and whose eye and ear for perfect details will make you laugh and nod and cry and just feel the feels like a giant breathless wallop to your heart. In this, her big, sprawling debut novel, Jacob explores one family’s journey from ’70s India to ’80s New Mexico to ’90s Seattle and everything that happens to all of them in between. It is a story about bonds and family and love and death and it is a story you should definitely read.”
—Hello Giggles

“Debut novelist Mira Jacob weaves a complex, layered saga of the immigrant experience, deftly illuminating the Eapens’ ambivalence toward their homeland. Heartbreaking and often surprisingly funny, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a testament to the deep bonds of family and the importance of gaining the courage to move on.”
—Shelf Awareness

“This atmospheric behemoth of a book, Jacob’s ambitious first novel, follows the fortunes of the Eapens, an Indian American family dealing with tragedy and loss …. That the past is always present in their lives provides a dramatic tension that at once brings them together and threatens to drive them apart. Jacob has done an excellent job of balancing these elements as she has created a memorable and dramatic portrait of a family in flux.”
—Booklist

“The author has a wonderful flair for recreating the messy sprawl of family life, with all its joy, sadness, frustration, and anger.”
–Publishers Weekly

“Punchy, clever, and stuffed with delicious chapatis, Mira Jacob’s first novel jumps effortlessly from India to the States, creating a vibrant portrait of a world in flux.”
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing seizes the reader early and never lets go. Its electricities reside in Mira Jacob’s acute details and the sadness, anger, and humor of her characters. This novel tells many wonderful stories while also telling, beautifully, the story that counts the most.”
—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts

“Mira Jacob has written an utterly dazzling, epic debut. The story of an Indian-American family is at once completely relatable and totally fresh. A beautifully timed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is intricately woven and sparklingly played out and it triumphs. I did not want this breathtaking book to end.”
—Julie Klam, author of Friendkeeping

“I read this in one sitting. I couldn’t have stopped, wouldn’t even have noticed, if my house had caught fire. Mira Jacob is a born storyteller and a fantastic writer. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a truly great book.”
—Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a time-traveling multigenerational saga that still remains intimate in its feel and central focus. For all of its witty and loving attention to the power of familial bonds, it is most eloquent on the subject of a grief so profound that its everyday weight pulls the grievers closer to the dead than to the living. And yet the overall effect, miraculously, is celebratory.”
—Jim Shepard, author of You Think That’s Bad

“What a thrill to discover Mira Jacob, a warm, witty new voice in American fiction. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is both rich and wise. I savored every page.”
—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to Be Lost

“This is an effortlessly gorgeous and rich book. Its prose is lovely and precise, alternately luminous and direct; its observations of people and families and the physical world are poignant and a delight. The dialogue is sharp, funny, and true. This is a triumphant debut!”
—Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!