"Fall Asleep Forgetting" by Georgeann Packard

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In "Fall Asleep Forgetting" we witness a new and captivating fiction voice to welcome, that of Georgeann Packard. This piece showcases a unique blend of rawness and compassion, particularly in the characters' internal dialogs. There is much to "discuss," as each player is forced to examine where he or she stands in the world and in Creation.

A hot, sultry summer on Long Island's North Fork witnesses the unexpected - nearly bizarre - drama of a few characters as it plays out to a bitter, surprising end. Doubt, loneliness, betrayal, and terminal illness all pull on these individuals as they fly and collide through each other's orbits. Ms. Packard displays these interactions brilliantly, through an omniscient voice as well as journal entries of a central character, a woman named Claude. We get drawn in and pulled along as Claude becomes a player in the strained relationship between cancer-stricken Paul and his wife Sloan. Other characters fall into and out of love triangles; and through it all, the sexes, the races, and personal orientations are all bent and whipped into a tangled mix, as though thrown into a blender.

Ms. Packard has found new routes through peoples' thought processes. We watch as Claude, at first put off by her new relationships, gradually comes to crave them. We read of Six, the 9-year-old tomboy and Psalm-memorizing deus ex machina and understand her confusion and determination. These characters do more than come alive - they shine. We suffer and ponder and hope alongside them.

In fact, one is tempted to assign greater significance to these people; their actions on this stage almost force us to see them as emblems of ancient archetypes, like Oracle, Earth Mother, and yes, deus ex machina. None of this would have happened if the action hadn't been handled as nimbly as Ms. Packard handles it.

This is another astonishing first effort. Look no further than here, or "Pretend All Your Life" for first books from amazing new authors, who already display generous promise fulfilled.
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