It is hard to describe such creativity as expressed in this banquet of images, elegant poetry that feeds the soul, a gleeful rampage of metaphors.
Like Hansel and Gretel, the reader steps further into the woods, subsumed in an intriguing adventure that is as much morality play as fabulism, where the author plumbs the very heart of humanity. Hope is the currency of her characters, flawed with vague longings and the demands of a world that lives by a set of rules but forgets to list them, causing great confusion and inevitable embarrassment.
Earthy, erotic and gender-bending, Madeleine is Sleeping is fearless but kind, an extraordinary visitation upon the senses. The poignant emotions of the characters are never frivolous, best defined as a yearning for comfort, a small respite.
If dreams are filled with permutations of the impossible, then Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum has tapped into the great unconscious, mined the vast pool of imagination and prepared a feast of the exotic, the erotic and the forbidden. Carefully incised, the human heart is revealed: the fragile chambers, the connections, the fumbling toward acceptance and understanding, ever-changing on a revolving stage. Madeleine Is Sleeping is an intensely personal journey; one must experience Bynum's world in order to recognize his own reflection.