Friday, 20 July 2007
TITLE: THE HOUSE OF SLEEP
AUTHOR: Jonathan Coe
DATE PUBLISHED: 1997
DATE READ: June 2007
NOTES: Brilliantly constructed follow-up to What a Carve Up! A group of students share a house in the early 1980s and despite their intense impact on one another they appear to go their separate ways. But things are not that simple and their paths will cross again. The whole book is suffused with theories of sleep and dreams which are in themselves fascinating even if we don’t know how much of the information given has any real scientific background.
Alternate chapters recount the story from the 1980s and from June 1996. The student house becomes a private clinic specializing in sleep disorders run by the ghastly Gregory who was Sarah’s sadistic lover in student days. Terry, a friend of Sarah’s, arrives as a patient and is surprised that Gregory’s assistant Cleo reminds him of Robert and wonders if she could be his sister.
Lots of very funny bits but with some really dark moments. The whole structure is all very cleverly worked out – it propels the reader (well, me anyway) along as you really want to know how everything turns out.