Friday, 7 September 2018

Blog Tour: Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira

The book...

It is May 1968. Students are rioting, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, and war is raging in Vietnam. For three ordinary women in Lisbon, London and Washington life must go on as usual. For them, just to survive is an act of courage. How much has really changed in 50 years?

Purchase Links...

The review...

In 1968 (that’s the year I was born!) three very different women are, in their own very different ways, surviving in the face of adversity.

A young Portuguese widow, Amalia, is struggling to bring up her young son and make ends meet as best she can in post-colonial Lisbon.

Far away in London, Rose, a nurse from St Lucia, works in a care home and deals with casual prejudice and discrimination on a daily basis. (For context, Enoch Powell has just made his notorious Rivers of Blood speech.) With people protesting in the streets against immigration, how much has really changed?

Still further away in Washington DC, a mother writes heartfelt letters to her son fighting a faraway war.

Told alternately in the third person (Amalia), the first person (Rose) and in the form of letters from Washington (I don’t think we’re ever told “mom’s” first name?), we are drawn into the lives of the three women, who are unconnected and whose lives are very different yet who share much. All the characters were marvellous - and in many ways heartbreaking - but I think Rose was my favourite. I loved her voice, and her friendship with her young neighbour, Brenda, was hugely moving. 

Amalia’s story was equally moving and filled me at times with horror, rage and helplessness as I felt the impossibility of her situation. Yet all three women show great bravery, resilience and compassion.

Interspersed with the narrative are news reports which impart a flavour of the time and cast light on the context of the era in which the women are living, and the broader social and political forces which affect how their lives are experienced.

With a delicate and sensitive touch, through these deeply personal stories Jackie Carreira depicts the reality of women’s lives then and now. A lovely read

Many thanks to the author and Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to be part of the blog blitz.

The author...

Jackie Carreira is a writer, musician, designer, co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company, and award-winning playwright. She mostly grew up and went to school in Hackney, East London, but spent part of her early childhood with grandparents in Lisbon's Old Quarter. Her colourful early life has greatly influenced this novel. Jackie now lives in leafy Suffolk with her actor husband, AJ Deane, two cats and too many books.

Social Media ...

FACEBOOK: @SleepingThroughWar

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