Megan Harlan
November 05, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

Before You Sleep

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Linn Ullmann
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

In a family of Norwegian beauties, twentysomething Karin Blom is the plain, overlooked one: Her mother, Anni, is an irresistible siren; her exquisite older sister, Julie, has just married an outwardly perfect man. But when Julie’s marriage and Anni’s sanity crumble, Karin ultimately forgoes her fantasies for the more pressing and meaningful reality of her sister’s neglected young son. This caustic, whimsical first novel about sex, love, and infidelity by Norwegian literary critic Ullmann (daughter of director Ingmar Bergman and actress Liv Ullmann) often reads like a fractured Scandinavian fairy tale, narrated by Karin in daggerlike shards. A-

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