I come today with a review of Sleep by Nino Ricci (spoilers alert). This is not a book I would have pick up while perusing the bookstore. It was suggested to me by and friend and since one of my goals this year was to read different genres I took it home. I was surprised that I enjoyed reading this book, not a mind blowing revelation type of book but entertaining and a bit thought provoking.
So the premise of Sleep is it follows the main character David throughout the downfall of his life. David is a professor in a university and also has written a few successful novels. In the beginning it is presented to the reader that he has some sort of sleep disorder. The disorder is never officially named but David falls asleep at inopportune moments and has black outs at time. The beginning few pages he actually falls asleep while driving his car with his kid Marcus in the back. Right off the bat we learn to dislike David as he actually gets a thrill from almost killing him and his child.
The disorder in the beginning is blamed for the breakup of his marriage to Julia and the dead beat father vibe. Throughout the story though we learn that David has a self destructive nature about himself even before he married Julia. We find out that he sleeps with students before and while he was married to Julia. He also sleeps with a possible new employee and royally screws up his and her jobs. After he is ‘let go’ from his job and he is divorced from Julia he goes to work for his old friend Greg and sleeps with his wife Sophie. We really wanted to root for him as he seemed like he was getting his life together. However his old tendencies came out and continues to self-sabotage the new good things in his life.
It seems like he is chasing the high and addiction of having something he cannot have and the fear of getting caught, which is just as addictive as well. He also finds the ‘high’ in the life-threatening situations he puts himself in. First off there was the car incident in the beginning of the book. Another episode, actually multiple, is when he finds is father’s old gun. This spirals into ongoing thrill issues with carrying a loaded gun and going to firing ranges. Not to rebellious right. He then goes to an old construction site and shots the glass out of a bulldozer. This brings of the theme of how guns and life-threatening highs that people seek try and fulfill the need to feel ‘alive’ again. This books covers the mundane activities of life and how it is easy to loose the sense of oneself quite quickly.
A second theme is this book is David’s need to feel in or out of control. The constant thrill seeking highs that David search for brings into question the sense of control. Is David every really in control or are all of us for that matter. The illusion of control vs the reality of control is a interesting theme to portray in a sleep disorder book. We all perceive that we have control of our sleep. We can control when and where we got to bed. We can control our before bed rituals but we cannot control the pathophysiology of sleep and what happens when this becomes compromised.
All of these components made for a intellectually stimulating read even if the pace of the book was lagging. I am pleased with my new genre read and will be looking forward to branching out of my typical reading genres more often. As always feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or thoughts at all. If anyone is wondering I gave this book a 3.5/5 star on goodreads. Happy Reading !!!