- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Canada (June 12 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679313745
- ISBN-13: 978-0679313748
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #347,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Before I Wake Paperback – Jun 12 2007
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“Robert Wiersema . . . has written an accomplished first novel, the sort of book veteran novelists might well envy. . . . Before I Wake is deceptively easy to read because it is so well written and so emotionally engaging. It is not, however, an easily forgotten book. It will haunt you long after you’ve lent it to a friend. And lend it you will, because it is too good not to share.”
“We go along for this unusual ride – that takes us to purgatory and awakens images of the inquisition – because we trust Wiersema’s consummate skill: a talent that makes him one of our most promising and original voices.”
–The Gazette (Montreal)
"…rivetting debut novel…Wiersema has crafted a literary, supernatural thriller that grips the reader in a chokehold on page one and doesn’t let go until the very last line…Before I Wake is a classic thriller: creepy in all the right places and deliciously suspenseful. Beyond that, it has great emotional depth and resonance."
–The Globe and Mail
"Before I Wake is a stunning debut. Robert Wiersema's novel is original, thought-provoking and downright wonderful."
–Michael Connelly, author of The Closers and The Lincoln Lawyer
"Through a tale that is both intimate and profound, Robert J. Wiersema reminds us there is magic in truth, and truth in the fantastic. Before I Wake is an edge-of-your-seat debut that is never faint of heart."
–Ami McKay, author of The Birth House
"I wept over this book as I read it, and I'm still haunted by it. Wiersema’s compassion for us all shines through in writing that is vivid and very often disturbingly powerful. He is a beautiful writer, and this is a beautiful book."
–Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of The Cure for Death by Lightning, A Recipe for Bees and A Rhinestone Button
"I read this book in less than three days, over the Christmas holidays with a house full of family and friends, and every time I had to put it down, I found myself compiling lists of people for whom I wanted to buy it. It captured me from the opening page and kept me going, wanting more, because it is a wonderful story, superbly told. The tight, tersely written chapters with their constantly changing points of view had me totally enthralled, because the characters are all utterly believable; every one of them rings true, with no miscues. A wonderful novel from a storyteller who knows what being a master of the craft entails."
–Jack Whyte, author of the Dream of Eagles series
"Inventively told using cinematic jump cuts and fantastical interventions, Before I Wake provocatively dances along the lines between faith and science, life and death. Robert Wiersema’s first novel shows a writer possessed with the kind of storytelling instincts that make you care about the answer to the one question that really counts: What happens next?"
–Andrew Pyper, author of The Wildfire Season
About the Author
Robert J. Wiersema has always been a storyteller. As a child growing up in Agassiz, B.C., the term was something of a euphemism, as he had, for a time, an unsteady relationship with the truth. In short, he lied. He would lie about anything, anytime. And the funny part was, it never worked. He was always found out and always had to bear the punishment for his off-the-cuff fictions. But that didn’t stop him. He gradually learned to channel this impulse into creating actual stories. The first he describes as “the worst sort of spy fiction.”
Many stories later, Wiersema enrolled at the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing Workshop, but later decided to complete an English degree with a split focus on contemporary Canadian fiction and post-structuralist literary theory. To support himself as a student, he became a bookseller, which he credits as being the best thing he could have done for his writing. He realized that the lessons he was taught in class during the day were at odds with the interactions he had with real readers in the store. This changed the way he wrote and gave him the motivation to tell stories that people would want to read.
In 1999, Wiersema began reviewing books for Quill & Quire and went on to become a respected book critic for the Vancouver Sun, the Globe & Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and various other newspapers. This exposed his writing to the public and the book industry, and proved to be a valuable advantage when it came time to shop his debut novel. Before I Wake was published by Random House Canada in 2006 and released in the U.S. and U.K. in early 2007.
Unlike the punishments of his youth, Wiersema currently enjoys all the rewards his storytelling brings him. He lives with his wife Cori and son Xander in Victoria and is fond of cigars, loves music and talks about all of the above on his blog: robertjwiersema.com/blog. He wakes up every morning at or before 4 a.m. to write, and is working on a collection of short fiction, entitled Seven Crow Stories, and a new novel about the power of reading, of books and of words. He continues to write reviews and 2007 marked his tenth year as a bookseller, event coordinator and PR person for Victoria’s Bolen Books.
“I don’t envision myself leaving either bookselling or reviewing behind,” Wiersema admits. “I like being a part of the conversation, a part of the on-going unfolding of writing in this country. I like putting books in the hands of readers, bringing authors together with their readers, weighing in on the books themselves. I’m a lifer. "
From the Hardcover edition.
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Questions raised by Wiersema in this novel show an insight into what it means to be human; what it means to ask questions to which there are no certain answers, to long for things we cannot have, to look for meaning in tragedy and hope in heartache.
It was a very interesting book and I loved the way Wiersema told the story from everyone's perspective.
I would recommend this to anyone. My hubby (NOT a reader) is reading it now after the way I talked about it!
It's almost as though the author's intention was to write a big and deeply profound book with many "deep", cerebral themes, but ended up mashing that intention with a less-than-commercial, subpar genre book.
Does NOT work for me.
Anyway, judging by the low number of reviews so far, it's obvious to me that most readers have done themselves a favour and steered clear of this one.
I don't usually take the time to write reviews on public forums, but I have to for this one. Ugh. I really hated it. Perhaps the author could benefit from some creative writing programs, because....ugh. Just, ugh.
Sherry gets hit by a truck. The driver commits suicide. Surprisingly both lives are altered in strange ways and lead to positive, if not jarring, events in real life.
It's mostly realism, with a bit of magic, Biblical battles of good and evil, sadness and humour. Before I Wake has it all.
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