By: Kathryn Lund
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: April 2022
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: April 19, 2022
Author Kathryn Lund presents to readers The Things We Left Sleeping, a unique story design featuring two parallel narratives that alternate between the pages as the story unfolds. One of the narratives is written by the character Evie, and appears only on the left-side pages of the book, while the character Stevie is featured only on the right side of the book. Fortunately, to avoid any possible confusion, readers are alerted to the alternating narratives at the beginning of the book, and are encouraged to read in the manner they are most comfortable with, whether it be reading only one side at a time, or skipping back and forth between the two.
Evie and Stevie have been close friends for years, sharing everything in their daily lives, including Evie’s parents, Linda and Dave. Sadly, after the sudden death of Linda, Evie’s health takes a turn for the worse, and their close friendship crumbles, pulling them apart and into their own detached worlds. Now physically separated, Evie, who is struggling with getting proper care for her health issues, is in her world where everything looks like a cold, dark farm with strict rules of behavior. Meanwhile, Stevie’s world is also filled with problems, but they are ones she’s managed to avoid and would much rather leave alone...but she can’t continue avoiding everything if she wants to get back to being with Evie.
After reading The Things We Left Sleeping, this reviewer was initially confused, frustrated and didn’t appreciate the story. While multiple narratives in a story isn’t a new writing concept, having two stories flip-flop every other page was initially impossible to follow. Making the decision to read one narrative, and then the other, consecutively instead of conconcurrently, made it a bit more understandable, but not necessarily enjoyable. One story contained a lot of stream of consciousness, which made it difficult to follow as I continually wondered where the story was going. I also often found myself referring to the book’s short synopsis to clue me into the events in the story when it wasn’t apparent in the actual text I was reading. Unfortunately, at the conclusion of my reading both narratives I was left with more questions than when I started. However, since I was intrigued by the brief information about the author included in the back of the book, I decided to find and explore the author’s website, KathrynLundTheAuthor.co.uk. There I discovered more information that further explained this story and its purpose. At this point I had a much better understanding of what was going on throughout each narrative, so I went back and reread a big portion of the story with this information in mind, and gained a new positive appreciation of the author’s work. And I am glad I did because I found The Things We Left Sleeping to be a fascinating exploration into the minds of those finding their ways through the disjointed brokenness that is trauma, and back into a newly formed wholeness of recovery.
Quill says: Kathryn Lund expertly weaves a unique and intricately messy tale of how difficult it is to get back into life after suffering trauma in The Things We Left Sleeping.
For more information on The Things We Left Sleeping, please visit the author's website at: KathrynLundTheAuthor.co.uk