While this is a beautifully written book, I didn t like it I couldn t follow the story line, and I ve been picking it up for 10 months trying to get into it I ve felt like I HAD to read it since I received it in a First Reads giveaway, but I think it s time to just say forget it and say while it has beautiful poetic prose, I just didn t like it because I couldn t follow it enough to get into it. Fall Asleep Forgetting is an absorbing novel and one I ll find hard to forget The loose knit community of Cherry Grove trailer park, an odd group of misfits living on Long Island s eastern tip, has welcomed me in And everyone I ve met has played their part.The story starts with a fragment from before, from 1956 when a woman called Fada steps out on her own But suddenly it s May 2001, and the year has me wondering the chapter headings all seem to lead to September Still, this tragedy is small A stranger has died Claude, who guards East Marion County Park has found the body And nothing s very important about it, except that maybe Paul is dying too, in a quieter, less unexpected way.Paul cooks He creates great beauty from food He structures picnics like seven course delights, and decorates his restaurant to keep the mind inside, not out enjoying the weather Enjoy both, he might tell you, but focus on one.Paul s wife Sloan is the quiet one You never quite know what she s thinking, but you try to guess, and you learn her past through others, feel oddly sorry for that and for her future.Cherry s a fine one, making her own divided path, volatile but hugely kind And Rae, who treads a different road, conventionally unconventional you might say, is mother to Six, the small world s wildest child.Old Saugerties spouts rules and regs and seems to hate them all, while Six spouts questions and the Bible But all the world s instructions can t control love and death And few, it seems, can even prepare us for them.Claude s diary creates a picture as absorbing as her photographs Sloan s silence and sensuality build questions on sex and desire Six s queries demand thought And even dying makes beauty in the September sun beauty and pain, but focus on one.A few months spent in their company makes these strangers become friends a few hours reading by the warmth of a fire when summer seems unwilling to start a few nights wondering at the secrets of the heart Small tragedies can be the biggest disasters to child or adult both, or a chance to grow And sometimes it takes a community like Cherry Grove, nurtured and saved, to nurture and save Not an easy book, not a rapid read, not a simple tale in sight Fall Asleep Forgetting will have me drifting to the rhythms and beauty of its words, still trying to rationalize somehow all the things that happened there.With thanks to the Permanent Press for giving me a bound galley for review. First Reads Winner Based on the blurb, I thought this book sounded very interesting Unfortunately, none of the characters made me feel involved in their stories I mostly found them irritating I found myself wanting to hear about Cherry less about Claude.The sexual nature of the book originally intrigued me with the transvestite, gay lovers of course the obligatory town whore As the book continued, I feel like there was way too much emphasis on the relationship between Claude and Sloan I found myself wondering if this book should have had a lesbian genre label on it While Packard truly does write in a lovely poetic style, I found the book less focused on Paul s journey through cancer and focused on his wife s sex life. Georgeann Packard s extraordinary debut novel, Fall Asleep Forgetting, is filled with such an array of original and motley crew of characters, we become almost spoiled for choice as we turn each delicious page of erotic food and heady sex As the sleeve of the book tells us Whether black or white, gay or straight, young or old, liberal or conservative all struggle with humor and heart to survive this summer of 2001 Some are plagued by overindulgence in lavish foods or religious zeal or sexual desire Their lives collide in surprising ways and each, at some point, is provided an opportunity to act heroically Paul Lang is a restaurant owner and poet, but with darker thoughts than average He has decided to end his life and goes about arranging his will, hoping to secure some financial security for his wife Despite having a head start in this endeavor, he fails to realize that sometimes even the best of plans never work the way they are originally intended While heading eastward on a train, he soon reveals a sense of the demons within his head as the train makes an unannounced stop at the edge of town It s a grim place, with dilapidated buildings covered in weeds His words sum up the place and his mood Could this day be even one shade bleaker As the train moves on in its journey, so does our story, bringing us to a trailer park on Long Island Sound named Cherry Grove a trailer park whose inhabitants we are never likely to forget Even the trailer park is a story within itself Once known as Paradise Grove Trailer Court, it remained named thus until Stephan Kazmierczak, known in Manhattan s East Village as Cherry Pickens, came back to inherit it from his parents, with intentions of leaving his her mark on the whole area Along with Cherry, there are a multitude of characters Claude, county employee living in a silver Airstream Flying Cloud, is a diarist with dark secrets Saugerties, a nasty homophobe and Korean War veteran Sonny and Rae, parents of nine year old tomboy, Six, the real star of the story Six is a mix of Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, and Mathilda from Leon She is the anchor for some of the drifting souls in and around the trailer park Six is such a memorable character that this reviewer would not be surprised to see her featured again in another novel from Packard With such a large ensemble of characters and situations, Fall Asleep Forgetting could very well have turned out to be nothing than a jumbled disaster Thankfully, in the skilful hands of Packard, this has not happened, and it s to her credit she has managed such an achievement A master class in sparse, clear prose, Fall Asleep Forgetting is a compelling and mesmerizing read, infused with an elegiac ambience It will make you laugh and cry in equal measures You ll not fall asleep forgetting this book. Fall Asleep Forgetting is a dreamy poetic novel that focuses an eclectic group of intertwined people living in a small Long Island beach town during on one hazy summer Once you start reading Fall Asleep Forgetting, Georgeann Packard s creative prose immediately draws you in to these intriguing characters she s created Claude, a park ranger who works on the beach, is the link between all the different people She s friends with everyone although she s relatively insular and quiet She lives a simple life There s Candy, a transsexual woman, who runs the mobile home park Her hunky guy is the object of a crush from libidinous older woman Rae While Rae flirts away, her husband Sonny tends to look the other way and precocious daughter 9 year old daughter Six runs about independently and hangs out with whomever she wants, particularly Paul He s dying it turns out and planning his escape Virginia Woolf style In the meantime, he s orchestrated an affair between his wife Sloane and Claude so that Sloane will have support when he s gone Forget reading some mindless chick lit novel take this one to the beach instead It s just that good Fall Asleep Forgetting is full of lust, heated sexual encounters and intense emotions that stem from fresh and recharged connections. Georgeann Packard s Fall Asleep Forgetting first came to my attention as a finalist for last year s Lambda Award As a tale of interwoven lives including a suicidal restaurateur, an adulteress, a jealous transvestite, a homophobic war veteran, and young tomboy who holds it all together , set in a rather unique trailer park, it manages to successfully hold its own against such a diverse cast of characters.Although slow moving and, at times, a little repetitive, this is a wonderfully poetic story that is as much a joy to hear as it is to read It takes a strange road to get started, jumping decades and characters, but there s a theme of loneliness that ties it all together The story itself doesn t really get moving until the discovery of a body on the beach, but that s okay because it s an interesting ride getting there.It may seem odd to talk of a story that s all about relationships, and to say it s haunted by a theme of loneliness, but that s part of why I enjoyed it so much There s nothing obvious or expected about the writing, and you really have to accept the characters quirks in order to appreciate this scattered glimpse into their lives This is also a novel about obsessions and excesses sexual, emotional, physical, and culinary and about the consequences of those excesses.This wasn t the story I expected, but sometimes that s for the best I would much rather be surprised and delighted by a tale, than to come away feeling well, complacent On the one hand, I think it could have benefited from a stronger focus on fewer characters but, on the other hand, I m not sure it would have worked as well without them I ve thought about that for a few days now, and I still can t make up my mind, which is just fine by me.I almost hate to say it, because it seems so obvious to me yet hasn t been mentioned in a single review that I ve seen , this is the kind of story that seems to cry out for a David Lynch screen adaptation If that scares you away, then it s probably best that you take a pass, but if that intrigues you, I think you ll appreciate the read. As we kick open the door on this book it seems set up of a sort of Crash scenario where several people in various scenes walks of life will somehow invariably collide Fair enough Concept seems overdone, but I figured I d experimentjust like in collegeWhile the writing to start is pretty it seems a bit juxtaposed hard to follow with a dash of ADD on the side But it does keep you reading with some fantastic prose.You continue on and the jumble seems to begin to make sense thou still in a staccato rhythm that reminds me of how well P Diddy dances No matter how many times that man changes his name he can t change the fact that he can t dance He should stick to his strengthswhich is not rapping either.Back to the point, I will absolutely give Packard some worthy praise as she hits home on the stem of several of the human emotional spectrum ESP in such varied characters I wish I could just hone my ADD in on this ADHD tale a bit. I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway I was pleased, as I am an avid reader of many different genres The blurb looked interesting, so I eagerly began at once I must admit, in all honesty, that I did not care for this novel Immediately, it reminded me of books assigned in college Ones where we learn about the Human Condition I am sure this is just me, as I am not especially fond of books that are meant to be ironic The writing style is somewhat poetic The characters are really just characatures None of them are incredibly enjoyable, but I guess that was the author s intention I have limited, yet valuable time in which I can read I ask myself, will I learn anything from this book, or will it entertain me I like books that can do both This did not fall into either catagory and I was left disappointed I am afraid I cannot recommend. Although occasionally clumsy and overwrought especially when we re given sneak peeks at Paul s poetry or Claude s diary entries , the language used by Packard is for the most part rich and evocative, especially in the descriptions of the surrounding landscape, the food consumed, and the unvoiced tensions between her characters.It s the structure, pacing and two dimensional characters which weaken Fall Asleep Forgetting.At times, it feels as though some characters have been introduced only to increase difference, conflict and drama But since any close knit community has tensions, these characters larger than life attributes come across as clich d and unnecessary Overall, an uncomfortable read and one which for me fell flat Excerpt from full review of Fall Asleep Forgetting at For Books Sake P Now Finished With Me, She Dressed Paul Brought My Clothes To Me Then She Took Her Husband S Hand And Walked With Him Back Along The Water S Edge, To Home I Suppose She Might Have Just Finished A Morning Swim By The Look Of Her Relaxed Gait, Feeling No Regret For Abruptly Leaving The Embraces Of The Sea But Not Me I Felt As If I Had Witnessed A Horrible Accident And Had Just Watched The Ambulance Pull Away, Feeling Intensely Drawn Into Others Lives And Then Left Alone In The Shrieking, Silent Aftermath With Absolutely No Idea What Would Happen Next P Such Is The Sexual And Emotional Intensity That Permeates The Pages Of Fall Asleep Forgetting This Journal Entry By Claude Is One Of Many Which Are Interwoven Into A Tale Of An African American Restaurateur Who Is Dying, His Beautiful But Withdrawn Wife, And This Woman, Claude, Who Becomes Entangled In Their Relationship Other Players Include A Jealous Transvestite, A Korean War Veteran, As Well As Accidental Parents And Their Misfit Child Turned Savior They All Live In Or Nearby An Unusual Trailer Park On Long Island Sound, All Struggling With Humor And Heart To Survive The Summer Of These Characters Are Often Plagued By Overindulgence, Whether Seduced By Lavish Foods, Religious Zeal, Or Sexual Desire Their Lives Collide In Surprising Ways And Each Is, In The End, Handed The Opportunity To Act Heroically
Georgeann Packard is a writer, graphic designer, and photographer who also designs, draws and installs landscapes on the North Fork of Long Island This is her first novel.
- 254 pages
- Fall Asleep Forgetting
- Georgeann Packard
- 08 January 2019 Georgeann Packard