Before I Wake
Tragedy can strike at any time. In a single moment of distraction, in one instant’s miscalculation.
On a beautiful spring day, three-year-old Sherry Barrett is injured in a hit-and-run accident. Her devastated parents, Simon and Karen, wait by her bedside, hoping for a miracle . . . one that doesn’t come. Told that she will never recover, they agree to remove her from life support. And then the miracle occurs. Sherry doesn’t die. But neither does she wake.
Meanwhile, Henry Denton, who was driving the truck that nearly killed Sherry, attempts suicide. Unable to die, he finds himself in a place of darkness, somewhere between this world and the next, invisible to all but a group of mysterious and downtrodden men. Haunted by his own guilt, Henry struggles to understand this limbo, and what he must do to free himself.
Under the pressure of caring for their child, the fissures in Simon and Karen’s marriage become gaping wounds, and the family is pushed to the point of collapse. And then pushed even further by the undeniable fact that their little girl, trapped in her living death, has become a healer.
As the world turns its lens on the family, and the sick and dying arrive to be cured, Simon and Karen must decide whether or not to allow these “pilgrims” access to their daughter. At the same time, a larger battle is brewing – one that has been raging for close to two thousand years, and one that might yet claim the lives of Sherry and her family.
Weaving together disparate voices, Robert J. Wiersema’s brilliant debut novel sheds light on the inner lives of characters struggling against tragedy, finding each other, and themselves, in the darkness. In exploring how hope can be renewed in the face of unimaginable sorrow, Before I Wake reveals the power of forgiveness, and the true nature, and cost, of miracles.
The World More Full of Weeping
Eleven-year-old Brian Page spends every waking moment in the forest behind the house where he lives with his father. But forests are always deeper than anyone can know. Secrets are hidden in the eternal twilight of the trees. Those secrets emerge into light when Brian disappears in the forest, as his father did three decades before. His father, however, came home with no memory of the events in the depths of the forest. What has drawn Brian away? Will he emerge, shuddering and broken, as his father did, or will the forests close around him, as they have done so often before?
The book also includes an essay by the author called “Places and Names.”
Following his bestselling 2006 debut, Before I Wake, Wiersema returns to his exquisitely plotted blend of supernatural thriller and domestic drama.
Novelist Christopher Knox began his writing career with a bang. The echo of that success still rings in his ears as he sets to work every morning on his second novel, ten years later. His wife feels like a single parent, and with Chris living in exile in a studio above their garage, it won’t be long before she is.
Chris discovers a fantasy novel by an obscure author he loved as a child and gives it to his son, David. Father reads to son nightly, and To the Four Directions soon enthralls him. Until one night, when young David is reading alone, an inexplicable seizure leaves him in a mysterious state of unconsciousness. As his seizure recurs every night, his father learns that only one thing will calm it, a bedtime story from his strange new book.