Friday, 7 September 2018

Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira

Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira
Published in the UK by Troubadour in February 2018.

One of my ReadingWomen selections and featured in Cover Characteristics: Hands

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add Sleeping Through War to your Goodreads

It is May 1968. Students are rioting, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, and war is raging in Vietnam. For three ordinary women in Lisbon, London and Washington life must go on as usual. For them, just to survive is an act of courage. How much has really changed in 50 years?

When I first marked Sleeping Through War as finished on my Goodreads I rated it as four stars because I had enjoyed the read and appreciated Carreira's approach to portraying this monumental moment in history. That was a couple of days ago though and the more I have been mulling the book over for this review, the better I think it is! Consequently I've upped that star rating to a five.

Sleeping Through War has four narrative threads which are connected by their time period and subject matter, but don't actually link up. I did spend quite a bit of time wondering how the women would end up together, but that isn't how this novel works so don't distract yourself in the same way! Amalia is a single mother struggling to support herself and her young son in Lisbon; Rose is a West Indian care home nurse in London; Mrs Johnson is an American wife and mother whose son is fighting in Vietnam. These three fictional but completely real characters take turns to speak directly to the reader about their day-to-day lives and their chapters are interspersed with news reports of the violence which seemed to sweep the globe that year. I don't quite know how to explain, but it felt to me as though the news reports provided a male counterpoint to the womens stories and, although I know the reported events did happen, Amalia, Rose and Mrs Johnson's words seemed more believable. How so much aggression could have exploded within such a short space of time is incredible, yet for these women - and millions like them - the small details of their days are just as life-changing, in fact more so to these individuals, but not in such a way as to make headlines.

Meet the author:

Jackie Carreira is a writer, musician, designer, co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company, and award-winning playwright. She mostly grew up and went to school in Hackney, East London, but spent part of her early childhood with grandparents in Lisbon's Old Quarter. Her colourful early life has greatly influenced this novel. Jackie now lives in leafy Suffolk with her actor husband, AJ Deane, two cats and too many books.

Author links: 
Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jackie Carreira / Historical fiction / Books from England


  1. I haven't read this author but it does sound interesting.

  2. I love books that get stronger as time goes on after you have finished reading. Truly a mark of a good read.

    1. Me too. I'm often surprised at the end of a year that the books I remember most clearly aren't necessarily the ones I loved best at the time of reading

  3. Is it strange I'm sort of disappointed to hear the women don't eventually meet? Still, I developed a real love of multiple POVs last year so I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR! I love the idea of exploring a world through four different perspectives. Lovely review, Stephanie!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. Thank you Laura :-)
      I think you would enjoy this one

  4. Sometimes that happens to me too and I realise with time that the book is worth more than I originally gave it! I'm actually quite refreshed by the fact that the women don't meet. It seems to always happen when there is more than one narrative so it's nice for there to be a change. And by having different perspectives in different locations you can hear about more experiences.

    1. Yes, it's unexpected for a fiction novel, but I think the not-connecting works perfectly here