Comas: a horror for those forced to see their loved one in that state and an intriguing in-between state for those in the coma. Madeleine is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum presents the blur between the worlds of the sleeping and the waking.
In sleep, the borders between reality and dreams blurs for Madeleine and her family in provincial France. With images of a fat woman flying with her arm flaps and a girl made entirely of pastry kissed by a hopeful suitor, the difference between fanciful dreams and the real world blends to the point of it being difficult to discern what is actually real, yet the changes Madeleine goes through is still reflective of transformations that people go through when they grow up and experience the world.
Presented in a more unique format with verse length chapters over typical prose length chapters, the story offers a visual draw into the narrative. The worlds that are built between the dream and reality are adequately developed with the aid of magic realism, but it could have used a bit more clarity on what was going on, particularly as the ending was a bit of a “WTF” moment; however, there were parallels decently drawn between the events of the dream and the events occurring in reality.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.