Book Review: The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, by Mira Jacob

Sleepwalker's Guide to DancingI am instantly suspicious when dust jackets or book blurbs declare someone “the next …” The comparison rarely ever works, and usually only does the new author a disservice–establishing a comparison they just can’t hope to live up to.

So you can imagine how my senses started twitching when I saw blurbs describing this book as a must-read for fans of Meg Wolitzer and Jhumpa Lahiri–two authors I have tremendous respect for and love. And I feel like Jhumpa Lahiri has unfairly been branded the point of comparison for up-and-coming authors with Indian cultural influences.

It just so happens that this is one of those times when the comparison actually works. Mira Jacob really does have the sumptuous prose of Jhumpa Lahiri. She really does have the sense of how to move her characters through time and the attention to subtleties that Meg Wolitzer has.

I still think it’s unfair to try to label new authors as “the next …” But in the case of Mira Jacob it isn’t because the comparison is unfair; it’s because she has the right to forge her own (well-deserved) identity in the literary world. Which is clearly where she belongs.

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