The House of Sleep (Paperback) ~ Jonathan Coe (Author) Cover Art

The House of Sleep (Paperback)

By: Jonathan Coe (Author)


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Product note

The House of Sleep is an intricate cat's cradle of a novel, full of both sly satire and oblique meditations on the interstices of love, sleep, memory, and dreams. The setting is Ashdown, a wind-swept old house by the sea that once provided university housing and now is home to a clinic for sleep disorders. During the early 1980s, a group of students meet here, united by little other than a curious preoccupation with sleep. They include Sarah, a narcoleptic who has trouble distinguishing her intensely vivid dreams from reality; her first boyfriend, the fussy egomaniac Gregory, who gets his kicks from pressing his fingers on Sarah's closed eyes; Terry, a film buff who sleeps at least 14 hours a day, dreaming blissful dreams he can never quite remember; and the sensitive Robert, who loves Sarah enough to do anything at all in order to have her. By a series of startling coincidences, the four are drawn back to Ashdown 12 years later, setting into motion a plot so carefully contrived it makes most thrillers look spare and impressionistic. Like a dream, The House of Sleep resonates with repeated images, phrases, even passages; here they serve as narrative glue for a complicated story that moves backward and forward in time and in and out of different points of view. The result is sometimes puzzling, always absorbing, and often very funny indeed.

Short Desription

Winner of the Writers' Guild Best Fiction Award in England and the Prix M├ędicis in France

Like a surreal and highly caffeinated version of The Big Chill, Jonathan Coe's new novel follows four students who knew each other in college in the eighties. Sarah is a narcoleptic who has dreams so vivid she mistakes them for real events. Robert has his life changed forever by the misunderstandings that arise from her condition. Terry spends his wakeful nights fueling his obsession with movies. And an increasingly unstable doctor, Gregory, sees sleep as a life-shortening disease which he must eradicate.

But after ten years of fretful slumber and dreams gone bad, the four reunite in their college town to confront their disorders. In a Gothic cliffside manor being used as a clinic for sleep disorders, they discover that neither love, nor lunacy, nor obsession ever rests.



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