SIDESHOW by Anne D. LeClaire


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 The author of Grace Point (1992) here crafts an exquisite novel of suspense and redemption. After a transient childhood with a single mother, Soleil has created an orderly life in her humble but cozy Boston apartment and her job as a museum librarian. Now, in September 1993, her aged mother lies unconscious after a stroke. Soleil starts losing sleep at night, which makes her the perfect, if reluctant, candidate for Dreamscape, an exhibit at the museum that requires her to sleep on display as her brain waves are translated into a light show and musical composition. The scientist monitoring her sleep patterns happens to be Soleil's former lover, Andy, who becomes alarmed by her unusually lengthy dream stages. In fact, she is not dreaming but time traveling to rural Fortune Groves, Ohio, in the summer of 1932. There she observes Shoe, a girl who has been horribly disfigured in an accident, lost both her parents, and been separated from her beloved brother, Thomas. Now Shoe is being stalked by the town mogul, whose terrible secret she knows. Back in modern-day Boston, Soleil's midwestern-born mother has shown some response listening to stories of her dreams, and Soleil is in danger from the Sweetheart Strangler, a serial killer whose progress she follows casually in the newspapers. Graced by LeClaire's compassion, the mechanism of time travel never becomes too far-fetched, but instead creates the opportunity for readers to be moved by the heartaches of Soleil and Shoe and by the healing they achieve through their encounters. LeClaire imbues her characters with such dignity that no situation into which they fall seems absurd. She transcends science fiction and suspense genre elements to craft a story of gentle souls who attain enlightenment. The only disappointment is Soleil's relationship with Andy, strictly a dime-store romance. Surprisingly stirring.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-670-84328-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1994


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