Sleeping Funny

Sleeping Funny is that rare book–a debut that introduces us to a fully mature writer, one who instantly draws you in with her lean style, empathy and wit, and keeps you reading, with growing admiration and delight, from first page to last. These stories showcase Miranda Hill’s astonishing range and virtuosity, introducing us to a protean variety of characters, each as well-realized as the next. Here is a writer who can seamlessly inhabit the consciousness of a sixteen-year-old navigating an embarrassing sex-ed class, a middle-aged minister experiencing a devastating crisis of faith in a 19th century rural village, a pilot’s widow coping with her grief by growing an unusual “victory garden” during World War II, and well-heeled modern professional women juggling jobs, kids, and husbands, and trying to cope with the arrival of a beautiful bohemian neighbour, on a gentrified street in downtown Toronto.

The qualities that unite these remarkable stories are a pervasive sense of mystery and magic, a wonderful wit and sophistication, and most surprisingly, the slight disorientation implied by the title: In Miranda Hill’s beguiling universe, the “real world” is recognizable and slightly askew, as if you were experiencing one of those strange dreams where you think you are awake–or as if you’ve been “sleeping funny” and are on the cusp of waking into the everyday world you thought you knew.

Reviews

Reading one of Miranda Hill’s stories is to be delivered to an almost dreamlike place where familiar themes in fiction—love, loss, family, identity, faith—reveal themselves in delightfully unexpected, unsettling ways… . Accomplished and innovative, Hill’s collection is a pleasure to read.”
Quill & Quire

“Debuts such as Miranda Hill’s are refreshing, then, for not being written by people just a few years out of high school, for not being written by someone whose only real experience of the world is insights recycled from other novels… . Sleeping Funny, Miranda Hill’s short story collection, is a satisfying mix of straightforward realism and grounded fantastic, and shows the writer at her best … . [It is] an accomplished collection of tender, witty writing.”
National Post

“Hill is able to slip unerringly into many voices: a group of suburban mothers, a man pining after a country singer who was his former love, a commuter on a train, a boy picked on at school and ignored by his parents in favour of his beautiful younger sister. They are characters we can relate to… She moves us effortlessly from one recognizable voice to another in stories with very different themes.”
Toronto Star

“To see miracles, Miranda Hill writes, we must live with eyes open. Her collection, Sleeping Funny, is a book full of miracles. You never know when the magic will appear, and you want to read with your eyes open so you won’t miss any clue or sign …. These stories are smart, mysterious, and surprising.” 
—Sarah Selecky, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist for the story collection This Cake is for the Party

“Hill’s debut collection, Sleeping Funny, subverts our expectations … . [Hill] uses the assemblage to showcase her impressive range, slipping into divergent voices and prose styles with chameleonic ease… . Her writing feels so measured and fluid … . It’s a confident, captivating book, fortified by the writer’s courage to let each story stand on its own.”
The Walrus

“Hill’s inventive and attentive voice casts a magic spell.”
—Carrie Snyder