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By Robert J. Wiersema

“Before I Wake is a stunning debut. Robert Wiersema’s novel is original, thought-provoking and down right wonderful.”
-Michael Connelly, author of Concrete Blond and The Poet

[Wiersema’s] debut, Before I Wake, is causing ripples of excitement in both North America and overseas due to the author’s ability to fuse the page-turning elements of a thriller with a supernatural quality that could easily be termed a new brand of Canadian Gothic.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Wiersema_Before I Wake

A Canadian fiction debut with the emotional weight of The Lovely Bones, Before I Wake reveals how hope can be renewed even in the face of unimaginable sorrow.

Part domestic novel, part thriller, Robert J. Wiersema’s debut novel is an unforgettable exploration of the limits of human strength, of the power of forgiveness, and of the true nature, and cost, of miracles. It tells the story surrounding a six-year-old girl who falls into a coma as a result of a hit-and-run. We follow the tormented driver who struck her, as he grapples with his guilt, and the girl’s parents, whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. But parallel to this domestic scene, elements of the mythic and supernatural come into play, as rumours spread of the girl’s healing powers, and a mysterious priest hovers dangerously close.


“In this impressive debut, Wiersema crafts an intelligent, contemplative supernatural thriller replete with well-rounded characters, artless dialogue and a plot that, while imbued with the unexplained, develops organically, revealing its secrets at just the right pace. . . Wiersema tells an engrossing story of flawed but genuinely good people who must bear up under the stress of loss, betrayal, unwarranted miracles and unconventional spiritual warfare. . .the result is an engaging, emotionally resonant read.”
Publishers Weekly

“An engaging and unusual story—a debut with promise.”
Kirkus Review

“An engaging and haunting read.”

“A cleverly written story . . . both men and women will enjoy.”
Women’s Weekly UK

“I read this book in less than three days, over the Christmas holidays with a house full of family and friends, and every time I had to put it down, I found myself compiling lists of people for whom I wanted to buy it.  It captured me from the opening page and kept me going, wanting more, because it is a wonderful story, superbly told. The tight, tersely written chapters with their constantly changing points of view had me totally enthralled,  because the characters are all utterly believable; every one of them rings true, with no miscues, no errors, no “ouches” or “owies” and the tale evelops with a deliberate and predictable intensity that never wavers, never lets up and never disappointed me. A wonderful novel from a storyteller who knows what being a master of the craft entails.”
-Jack Whyte, author of the Camulod Chronicles

“Inventively told using cinematic jump cuts and fantastical interventions, Before I Wake provocatively dances along the lines between faith and science, life and death. Robert Wiersema’s first novel shows a writer possessed with the kind of storytelling instincts that make you care about the answer to the one question that really counts: What happens next?”
-Andrew Pyper, author of The Wildfire Season

“I wept over this book as I read it, and I’m still haunted by it. Wiersema’s compassion for us all shines through in writing that is vivid and very often disturbingly powerful. He is a beautiful writer, and this is a beautiful book.”
-Gail Anderson Dargatz, author 
of The Cure for Death by Lightening

“Wiersema has crafted a literary supernatural thriller that grips the reader in a chokehold and doesn’t let go until the very last line. . . . Wiersema’s story is utterly fearless, right to the very end. It never shies away or backs down from its questioning of faith, theology, morality and mystery. . . . In spite of its grounding in domestic drama . . . Before I Wake is a classic thriller: creepy in all the right places and deliciously suspenseful. Beyond that, it has great emotional depth and resonance. It is a story about good versus evil, faith versus faithlessness, redemption and the cost of miracles. . . A unique, spellbinding, and ultimately uplifting gem. ”
The Globe and Mail

“Before I Wake is deceptively easy to read because it is so well written and so emotionally engaging. It is not, however, an easily forgotten book. It will haunt you long after you’ve lent it to a friend. And lend it you will, because it is just too good not to share.”
National Post

“This debut novel by … Robert Wiersema is a wonder to behold. A deft fusion of intimate family story, suspense and religious exploration, Before I Wake is one of those books you just don’t put down until you’ve read to the last page.”
Edmonton Journal

“Wiersema has a magical way keeping the reader turning the pages … in the space of a few pages, first-time novelist Robert J. Wiersema takes the reader into Ian McEwan country….[He] steps back and raises the big questions. In our self-obsessed contemporary culture, how do you come to terms with tragedy if you don’t have faith in God? In the absence of a supreme being, where do you turn for guidance and consolation? Who do you place your hopes in, if there is no one to be prayed to?”
Ottawa Citizen

“Before I Wake balances a haunting meditation on domestic tragedy with the thrilling push of age-old mystery. It’s not an easy mix, but first-time novelist and well-known Victoria bookseller Robert Wiersema manages this character-centred narrative adeptly enough to keep you reading through what is clearly any parent’s worst nightmare.”
Georgia Straight

“Robert Wiersema’s Before I Wake is an assured debut. From the riveting first section of the accident and its aftermath, Wiersema explores the themes of forgiveness, faith and fidelity, carefully blending the mundane (doing dishes and cooking dinner) with a dollop of magical realism to play out the ancient, and epic, battle between the forces of good and evil.”
Monday Magazine


Random House Canada, Canada, Fall 2006

St. Martin’s Press, U.S., Spring 2007

Pan Macmillan, UK, Spring 2007

Der Club, Germany, July 2008

Electra Publishers, Greece, July 2008

Otwarte, Poland

Kinneret, Israel

Sitjhoff (Netherlands)


National Bestseller

A Globe and Mail Best Book 2006

Finalist for the Sunburst Award 2007

Other Books by Robert J. Wiersema