logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
Before You Sleep - Linn Ullmann
Before You Sleep
by: (author)
3.50 5
Karin Blom, the narrator of Linn Ullmann's Before You Sleep is neither irresistible like her mother, Anni, nor beautiful like her sister, Julie, but as it turns out, this might be a very good thing. For short, dark, scrappy Karin is the survivor in a family filled with fractured personalities: ... show more
Karin Blom, the narrator of Linn Ullmann's Before You Sleep is neither irresistible like her mother, Anni, nor beautiful like her sister, Julie, but as it turns out, this might be a very good thing. For short, dark, scrappy Karin is the survivor in a family filled with fractured personalities: If I tried to describe my family, and that's exactly what I'm going to do, you could probably say that Anni drank to forget. I drank to be happy. Father drank just to keep going. Grandma drank to sleep better at night. Aunt Selma drank to be even meaner than she already was. And Julie, Karin informs us, is the only one who drinks sensibly--"unfortunately! It did her no good. She didn't forget, she wasn't happy, she couldn't sleep and she was never mean." Told mainly in flashback, Ullmann's first novel traces the unhappy history of the Blom family--Anni's mother, June, and her sister Selma, whose rivalry over Anni's father caused a permanent rift; Anni's own unsuccessful union with Karin and Julie's father; and Julie's failing marriage to a man she's sure is unfaithful to her. Ullmann takes the reader from Norway to New York and back again as she weaves past into present, gradually creating a fully dimensional portrait of these women and their relationships to men and to each other. If Anni gets by on charm and melodrama, and Julie on her beauty, then Karin relies on a combination of willpower and lies to carry her through. In the end, it seems her strategy is best. If the emotional tangles and subtle workings of this novel seem reminiscent of an Ingmar Bergman film, Linn Ullmann comes by it honestly. The daughter of Bergman and the actress Liv Ullmann, she has inherited her father's eye for what lies beneath the most placid-seeming surfaces, and her mother's less-is-more delivery. But Ullmann is a talent unto herself, and the novel's rather downbeat themes are nicely buoyed by Karin's slightly sardonic narrative. --Margaret Prior
show less
ISBN: 9780330390514 (0330390511)
Publisher:  Alexia Praks Media
Edition language: English
Bookstores:
Community Reviews
Lagraziana's Kalliopeion
Lagraziana's Kalliopeion rated it
3.5 The Unhappy Liar by Habit: Before You Sleep by Linn Ullmann
Before You Sleep is a contemporary Scandinavian novel from Norway, more precisely a debut novel written by the daughter of actress Liv Ullmann and film director Ingmar Bergman. Can it be much of a surprise that it was an immediate success when it first came out in 1998? The story centres on three ...
Books by Linn Ullmann
On shelves
Share this Book
Need help?