In Conversation with the Author: Jeffrey Lent talks about his new novel with Penny McConnel
In Before We Sleep, Jeffrey Lent explores family secrets, and the love that holds families together. It is also about the Greatest Generation as it moves into the very different era of the 1960s, and about the trauma of war that so profoundly weighed on both generations.
Jeffrey Lent was born in Vermont and grew up there and in western New York State. He studied literature and psychology at Franconia College in New Hampshire and SUNY Purchase. His first novel, In the Fall, was a national bestseller. His other novels are Lost Nation, A Peculiar Grace, After You've Gone, and A Slant of Light, which was a finalist for the New England Book Award and a Washington Post Best Book of 2015. Lent lives with his wife and two daughters in central Vermont.
"Lent, a quietly bold writer who rarely takes the expected path, makes this novel as much about mothers and daughters as about men and war . . . As usual, Lent brings his fictional world alive in brilliant physical detail: thickly textured descriptions of the fiddle-playing that consoles Oliver, of Ruth's cooking, and of the varied landscapes through which Katey drives . . . The interplay between their stories makes for a heartbreaking examination of the fraught bonds of kinship and community. Beautifully written and powerfully compassionate: more fine work from a modern master." - Kirkus Reviews
Penny McConnel concurs: "I have long believed that Jeffrey Lent is one of the finest living writers in our country. His newest novel contains all of the fine writing and use of language that his fans have long associated with his novels."
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Katey Snow, seventeen, slips the pickup into neutral and rolls silently out of the driveway of her Vermont home, her parents, Oliver and Ruth, still asleep. She isn't so much running away as on a journey of discovery. She carries with her a packet of letters addressed to her mother from an old army buddy of her father's.