cover image Rest and Be Thankful

Rest and Be Thankful

Emma Glass. Bloomsbury, $18 (160p) ISBN 978-1-52660-107-0

Glass (Peach) delivers a slim, dreamy sophomore novel about a sleep-deprived nurse. While working night shifts in a neonatal ward in London, Laura and her colleagues swaddle infants, care for them in their first moments of life, and watch as sick babies die from incurable ailments. When Laura is not working in the ward, she is at home with her partner, a man who seems to not love her or want her near (“The television is blaring. You are drowning out the world with loud sounds and whisky,” Laura narrates in a second-person passage addressed to him). In semi-waking moments, Laura begins seeing a haunting figure from her dreams: “in the pitch black her face shines sickly white, picked out by a shard of moonlight.” When Laura starts seeing the figure in the hospital whenever a death occurs on the ward, she worries she is going mad. Glass’s prose perfectly elicits the restless waking torment that drapes over Laura. The novel is visceral, and readers will keep turning the pages in fascinated dread. Agent: Niki Chang, The Good Literary Agency. (Dec.)