Item description for Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward...
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.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.1" Height: 0.5" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2003
ISBN 1931561230 ISBN13 9781931561235
Availability 0 units.
More About Amanda Eyre Ward
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 Story Quarterly, Mississippi Review, New Delta Review, Salon.com, and Austin Chronicle. Ward is a regular contributor to the Austin Chronicle. This is her first novel.
Amanda Eyre Ward currently resides in Caraumet. Amanda Eyre Ward was born in 1972.
Reviews - What do customers think about Sleep Toward Heaven?
Should We Forgive? Nov 24, 2007
Can a person truly forgive someone who has stolen the most precious thing in her life, someone who has killed the person around whom her entire future was structured? Celia Mills certainly does not believe that she will ever forgive the woman who shot and killed her husband as he ran an errand for her one hot Texas afternoon.
Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda Eyre Ward's debut novel is the story of three very different women who find their lives intersecting under tragically unpredictable circumstances. One of the women, Karen, is a Texas death row inmate who has been convicted of killing several of the men who paid to have sex with her along the Texas highways she worked to support her junkie female lover. Another is Franny Wren, a young New York City doctor who has been so affected by the death of her young cancer patient that she is having second thoughts about her career and her marriage plans. The third is Celia, widow of Karen's last victim, the only man she killed who was not one of her customers, a man who happened to cross paths with her at precisely the wrong moment.
The state of Texas has a long tradition of executing its murderers, something that longtime residents of the state usually take for granted. It is just a fact of life in Texas that many convicted murderers end up in Huntsville where they pay the ultimate price for their crimes. Ward uses Karen, Franny and Celia to put a human face on that experience by alternating segments in which each of the women draws closer and closer to the date that Karen has with her executioner.
Franny Wren never expected to return to a life in small town Texas, and certainly never expected to become a prison doctor working with the female prisoners on death row. But here she was. Karen finds herself looking forward to the relief that death offers. Her life on death row among the handful of female prisoners awaiting their own executions has become miserable and it is only a question of whether she will be executed before she dies from AIDS. Celia, the only character whose story is told in first person narrative, is working hard to convince her mother and friends that she is putting her life back together despite the fact that she is beginning to question her own sanity.
As the clock ticks down and these three women come together one hot Texas August, they touch each other's lives in ways that will change them forever. Sleep Toward Heaven never becomes preachy or overly sentimental, even to its unexpected ending. Rather, Amanda Eyre Ward allows each reader to decide about the rightness or wrongness of the death penalty for himself. Personally, I am pro-death penalty and I expected Ward to work harder to change my mind than she did. I found instead that the strength of her work is the way that she made me think about all the issues surrounding the death penalty without beating me over the head.
Disappointed Nov 18, 2007
I read this as a selection by our book club. Having glanced at the reviews for this book already on this site I had high hopes and still think it's interesting subject matter and should elicit good discussion. However the book itself was far too shallow - you didn't get to know or care about any of the characters. All of them were glossed over in far too little detail. Karen read like the Charlise Theron character in 'Monster' and Franny came across as just weak. How did she ever leave Texas at 16 and get all the way through med. school? It just didn't mesh and gee, was anyone surprised that she and Rick end up looking like a couple? I'm sorry, good subject, serious issues but just not dealt with in any depth at all which is too bad. And what's with the type face? How much white space do you want on a page???
A Great Story!!! Sep 30, 2007
I couldn't put it down! The characters are well developed and the plot is well thought out. Never boring! A MUST READ!!!
Great Read Sep 9, 2007
I read this book in 2 days. Just could not put it down. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer. Wonderful writter. Looking forward to future works.
Totally Compelling... Aug 2, 2007
I read this book in 2 days. If I didn't have to work in the middle of that (darn it!) would've been a few hours! What an amazing first novel. Ward brings 3 women together in a very believable set of circumstances. You feel each woman's pain so clearly you feel you know them. I actually teared up at the end! It leaves you wanting more: what happened next with Franny and Celia? Questions on the death penalty, forgiveness and life itself will haunt you. If you like books like Memory Keeper's Daughter and Time Traveler's Wife, you will become as totally engrossed in this book as I did. I'll definitely seek out Ms. Ward's next book.