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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Sleeping with Cancer is a contemporary slice-of-life drama novel by Phillip Riley. Emily's life turns upside down when she witnesses her former boyfriend and a Chinese man dying in a shootout at her apartment, leaving 1.2 million dollars in a duffle bag. Trying to ignore her traumatic experience, Emily is determined to start anew with the newfound money, but she is plagued by visions of mysterious characters, making her wonder if she is losing her grip on reality. After falling in love with Brian, a man with an invigorating lust for life, Emily gradually begins to discover the inner joys of the living experience. When Brian is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, they embark on a European tour, hoping to make the best of Brian's remaining time. Can Emily rediscover herself?
Phillip Riley tells a moving tale of love, self-discovery, and the inevitability of death which looms over everyone, making each living moment precious for us. Surreal and poignant, Sleeping with Cancer is a wild rollercoaster of a ride. There is almost a dreamlike quality to Riley's narrative that takes you on an unpredictable journey where you're never quite sure what's going to happen next. The characters are complex, layered, and thoroughly compelling. Emily and Brian's relationship acts as the primary anchor of the story, with the other characters revolving around it. Despite the seemingly serious subject matter, there is a surprising amount of humor sprinkled throughout the pages. Emily's sarcastic outlook was particularly entertaining for me. Highly recommended.