Friday, 7 March 2008

Review: Sleep Before Evening by Magdalena Ball

...the drug scenes are written with an intensity that I have rarely experienced in literature, or any other medium for that matter. The words and sentences beautifully drift through this melancholy, but never hopeless, foggy reality of drug abuse and self-searching and beauty and longing. The change and growth the protagonist goes through from the beginning to the end is nothing short of extraordinary, rendered almost impeccably, and the dialogue throughout feels as real as those dark shadows that hang out on that whiskey corner just down the street from my place, street-talking their way to the next hit, the next kiss, the next anything ... kudos to Magdalena Ball , Sleep Before Evening is a beautiful book. quite the accomplishment...

Reviewed by Tony Nesca, the author of "The Do-Nothing Boys" and "About A Girl"

I’ve never been addicted to drugs, but first-time novelist Magdalena Ball in Sleep Before Evening made me feel as if I had been so, in New York, way back in 1982. When Marianne’s grandfather dies, her innocence disappears with him and she abandons her potential academic career in an effort to find herself and re-establish some much needed stability in her life. All this happens while falling in love, learning about sex, drugs, booze and homeless life, and generally growing up far too quickly with plenty of freedom. The year 1982, a year of torment in the life of sweet Marianne. She’s brave yet she manages to reach the bottom. Will she climb back up?

The characters are the reason I love this book. Their dependence on drugs and their all too human feelings come out vividly. Miles, for instance, might look like the typical bad guy at the bar but he’s real all the way through. His feelings for Marianne and his addictions, hopes, dreams and sometimes even violence are straight-in-your-face all throughout the book.

The writing is deep and memorable making the novel a true page-turner. The words are chosen masterly; the narrative and the imagery are excellent. The book sounds like the music Marianne wants to compose. The frequent flashes from the past complement the narrative and add a certain element of mystery to the story.

The peak of the story is carefully reached, with the reader being let down and thinking it was reached quickly when in fact it was not. Indeed, not even Marianne was convinced by her earlier sudden decision to turn her life around.

Sleep Before Evening is a well-written insight into addiction and the ugly life. A seemingly good girl can be able to let go so much and be thrown in with the most ‘bad’. But if you want to know what happens to Marianne and all the other characters in Sleep Before Evening, you’ll have to read the book!

Reviewed by Maressa Zahra

Excerpt from Sleep Before Evening

Book trailer for Sleep Before Evening

Magdalena Ball biography

Listen to Magdalena Ball read an excerpt of Sleep Before Evening

Sleep Before Evening on Amazon: UK, US, Ca

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