|Sarah Shun-lien Bynum|
“I thought I was getting cranked,” Sarah Shun-lien Bynum told New York Magazine of the moment when she received the call informing her that her dreamlike debut novel, Madeline is Sleeping, was a 2004 National Book Award finalist. “I think it’s an incredibly odd choice,” she humbly reflects.
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Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Brooklyn, New York
Place of Birth:
B.A., Brown University; M.A., University of Iowa
|2004 National Book Award Finalist|
|Madeleine Is Sleeping|
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, this inventive novel from Bynum follows the dreams of young heroine Madeleine as she leaves home, joins a gypsy circus, and falls into an unexpected triangle of desire and love. An adventure in the discovery of art, sexuality, community, and the self, "Madeleine Is Sleeping tiptoes the line between fantasy and reality, between history and myth. It gently suspends the reader in the comfortable twilight moment that comes just before falling asleep," reflects USA Today.
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|These Things Take Time|
|"I’m embarrassed by the fact that I wrote the first few pages of my novel exactly ten years ago, in the fall of 1994," Bunym confesses in our exclusive interview. "I haven’t worked on it steadily since then. There were lots of interruptions, and long periods of concentrating on other things. But still, a whole decade? That’s an awfully long time, especially for a book that’s as short as mine is."|
|An Early Influence||Favorite Writers & Reads|
Bynum told us about the impact Brontë's classic novel had on her career as a writer: "When I first read it in the eighth grade, I remember being struck by two things: the extreme attractiveness of Mr. Rochester, and my sudden, acute awareness of Charlotte Brontë as the book’s author," she recalls. "I remember Jane Eyre as the moment I became curious about the person behind the book."
"I’ve returned to The Blue Flower again and again, not only for the sheer delight of it, but also for its lessons about the mysterious, utterly confounding nature of love," says Bynum of Penelope Fitzgerald's haunting novel. Read our interview with Bynum to learn about more of her best-loved books, including:
|Photo by Leigh Dana Jackson||