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Sleep Paperback – April 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As this collection of stories written over the past 25 years confirms, there is no mistaking Dixon, twice nominated in fiction for the National Book Award (Frog, Interstate), for any other writer. His insistent narrators and obsessive characters view and review their situations, as if worrying that each moment could change everything. The moments are often small: a hairpiece vexes an elderly, vain theatrical producer; a man drives his route home again and again, looking for something he may have seen out of the corner of his eye; a young father mourns the instant his daughter chooses not to kiss him good-bye at the bus stop. Several of the stories might be called metafictional. Rather like a dog circling around in his bed before settling down, the narrator of "The Stranded Man" turns his desert-island fantasy this way and that: Is he or is he not on an island? Is there a woman with him? Does he marry her? Do they have children? How can such a story end? "Many Janes" begins "Give me a line," reminding us that good fiction, like good improv, can begin with any premise, and ends with the concatenation that comprises almost any life, "city, country, sickness, death." The fiercest metafiction in the collection, "Tails," is a jesting story that never lets the reader forget that every choice an author makes is arbitrary; it also contains Dixon's strongest self-criticism: "You repeat too much and too much of what you repeat is the obvious." The powerful title story contains all of Dixon's signature postmodern conventions, but is a little more forgiving. It depicts a man troubled because at the moment of his wife's death he has a thought that might be more selfish than loving: "Now I can get some sleep." In his inimitable way, Dixon reveals the heartbreak in something as quotidian as admitting one's weakness at the wrong moment.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

What more is there to say about Gould Bookbinder, the sex-obsessed antihero of Gould: A Novel in Two Novels (LJ 1/97)? Dixon has come up with 30 more chapters of Gouldiana, recounting the hopes, regrets, and anxieties of his later years. In this new installment, Gould is an aging academic who lives in New York City with his wheelchair-bound wife, who suffers from MS. All of his mental energy goes into elaborate sexual fantasies involving much younger women. A waitress at a vacation resort in Maine, the daughter of a faculty colleague, a young woman playing frisbee in the parkAin Gould's mind they all want to have sex with him. Dixon presents Gould's obsessions in extravagant run-on sentences that build into page-long paragraphs. Each chapter is essentially a self-contained short story. The overall effect is engaging and somewhat addictive. Gould is a self-centered boor, but he is also a very recognizable Everyman. Recommended for larger fiction collections. [Dixon fans should also consider Sleep, a story collection he has published this spring with Coffee House Press, ISBN 1-56689-081-0, pap. $15.95.AEd.]AEdward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch., Los Angele.
-AEdward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch., Los Angeles
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press; 1 edition (April 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566890810
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566890816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,734,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Rexis on November 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great. used for school. I highly recommend this book.
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