In The Sleep of Apples, Ami Sands Brodoff writes with passion and consummate skill about nine closely linked characters who walk the tightrope of survival. Set in a gritty Montreal neighbourhood that’s been slowly gentrifying over the last two decades, troubled teenagers and an experienced psychiatrist, a truck driver permanently scarred by a near-fatal accident and a recreation therapist struggle to build a community and make their lives—and their deaths—meaningful. Fierce, original and bracingly honest, these unforgettable stories speak to the author’s Jewish heritage, her experience as a cancer survivor and as loving mother to a gay son and a transgender son. The stories dramatize that families are what we create, not necessarily those we are born into, illuminating how we all live imperfect lives: We love what we have and mourn what we’ve lost. Readers are witnesses as these indelible characters gain strength, insight and empathy through their struggles and suffering. They each bear the scars of trauma but possess the gift of resilience.
“The Sleep of Apples is masterfully spare and rich, full of love, quakingly honest. Ami Sands Brodoff’s intricately-linked stories show us the ties between parents and children; a brief love between strangers; a tangling threesome; and a couple of teenagers broken by tragedy—just to name a few of the complex, enduring and delicate relationships in this collection. The spectre of death floats over these stories, reminding us of what it means “to be wide awake, here, unbearably happy.” Brodoff’s stories are sparklers held up in the dark—brief, fierce and bold.”
—Lisa Moore, award-winning author of Something for Everyone
“With The Sleep of Apples, Ami Sands Brodoff’s gifts of nuance, insight, and clarity bring us into communion with the fierce, tender solitudes of contemporary lives humbled and remade by grief and love. These deeply intimate and interlinked portraits, evoked with radiant lyricism, and displaying an impressive range of voices, ring with the force of truth.”
—Elise Levine, author of This Wicked Tongue and Blue Field
“Ami Sands Brodoff’s stories ripple with wisdom and humour, alive with subtle observations and attention to the details of relationships. These stories range widely, fleshing out themes of mental health, family, and gender, taking us inside the minds of an experienced psychiatrist and a depressed teenager with equal empathy. These interconnected stories reach out for each other, forming a dense web of compassion.”
—Alex Leslie, Winner, award-winning autho of We All Need To Eat and Vancouver for Beginners