Winner of the Writers' Guild Best Fiction Award in England
Winner of the Prix Médicis in France
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Intricately plotted and ingeniously constructed....A deft satire...a strange and poignant love story." The Wall Street Journal
"Often disconcerting, sometimes moving, frequently funny....Coe eviscerates the bottom-liners with hilarious bare-toothed ferocity." The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Jonathan Coe has written a witty, engaging romance that reinvigorates the old saw that life is a dream." The New York Times Book Review
"An epic farce fueled by romance and satire....It is also a hilarious and deeply touching tale....Love, tenderness, affection: The House of Sleep glows with these qualities, and exalts them." San Francisco Chronicle
"Coe calls to mind the high silliness of Wodehouse farces and also Waugh's crueler social satire....Coe has an almost 19th century faith in the ability of a novel to immerse you in a created world that resonates in the actual world at every turn." Charles Taylor, Salon.com
"An audacious, often wickedly funny meditation on the vexed precincts of sleep and sex....[A] droll, ingenious novel, its satire nicely leavened by true romance." Kirkus Reviews
"[E]ngrossing and wildly inventive....Coe proves himself as adept an architect of sparkling, highly caffeinated fictional conceits as he is a satirist of the ambiguities of identity and the afflictions of the sleep-deprived." Publishers Weekly
"A book of playful games and combinations, written with great brio....It's also, as a worthy novel should be, a humane pleasure to read." New Statesman
"A serpentine novel of ideas....Packed with brilliant comic setpieces, trenchant satire on the self-serving 'business' of helping people and dexterous plotting which lovingly exploits the thin line between accident and design." Time Out
"Coe has been compared to Peacock, Waugh and Wodehouse. But this novel shows he has outgrown even this distinguished lineage....This is a fiercely clever, witty novel, but it is also wise, generous and hopeful." Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
"Coe's first novel since his prize-winning The Winshaw Legacy is likewise witty and intelligent....The story has some surprising twists, and Coe mostly manages to avoid clichd characters, although his mad doctor is almost over the top. Recommended." Library Journal
About the Author
Jonathan Coe has received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the Prix Médicis Etranger, and, for The Rotters' Club, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for the most original comic writing. He lives in London.
Review A Day
"The House of Sleep
is both darkly funny and hyperactive in plot, but at the same time remarkably resonant and poignant....Like most Coe novels, in The House of Sleep
you'll meet a variety of characters, so vividly drawn that a novel dedicated to each and every character would not go astray....If writing maketh the man, then I do indeed have a crush on Mr. Jonathan Coe." Georgie Lewis, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review