Slumberland and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Slumberland: A Novel Hardcover – June 10, 2008


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, June 10, 2008
$14.66 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596912405
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596912403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The narrator of Beatty's late '80s picaresque, Ferguson W. Sowell—aka DJ Darky—is so attuned to sound that he claims to have a phonographic memory. Ferguson, who does porno film scores for the money in L.A., has a cognoscenti's delight in jazz, and he's close to obsessed with Charles Stone, aka the Schwa, a musician who apparently disappeared into East Germany in the '60s. Ferguson receives an already-scored tape whose soundtrack is so rich and strange and transformative that it must be by Schwa. Ferguson is soon on his way to Slumberland, a bar in West Berlin to which he sources the tape. He arrives just in time to experience the sexual allure black men exercise on Cold War Berliners, and stays long enough to watch the city's culture fall apart after the fall of the Wall. With its acerbic running commentary on race, sex and Cold War culture, the latest from Beatty, author of Tuff and editor of The Anthology of African American Humor, contains flashes of absurdist brilliance in the tradition of William Burroughs and Ishmael Reed. But the plot seems little more than an excuse to set up a number of comic routines, denying the story a driving, unifying plot. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Ferguson Sowell, aka DJ Darky, has created what his fellow L.A. turntablists proclaim is the perfect beat, a synthesis of life itself. All that remains is for the beat to be ratified by finding legendary avant-garde jazzman Charles Stone and convincing him to solo over the beat. Stone, however, is as mysterious as he is legendary, and no one knows if he’s even alive. Then a clue, in the form of a porn tape, arrives mysteriously, and DJ Darky travels to Berlin in the months before the Wall comes down to find Stone. Beatty’s freestyle prose is a writerly equivalent of John Coltrane’s reinvention of My Favorite Things—by turns lyrical and edgy, playful, passionate, deeply hip, and endlessly inventive. As he searches the city for Stone, DJ Darky ruminates on race, German culture, music, sex, the destruction of the Wall, life in L.A., and dozens of other subjects; some of his thoughts are harsh (e.g., his withering critique of Wynton Marsalis), but they all are memorable. --Thomas Gaughan

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I want to read everything else he's written.
Mary
He has a great sense of humor, communicates it well on the page, and if you appreciate the absurdity of life you will probably enjoy this novel.
Robert D. Totten III
He gives us a Germany that is simultaneously xenophobic and Afroholic.
Thomas E. Defreitas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Traumreich on September 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a German living in Los Angeles (well Pasadena, but you know what I am saying) I just couldn't put down Slumberland. There were a couple of unfortunate mistakes in the German expressions used in the book but I have rarely seen any American, or any writer at all, display a better insight into the schizophrenia of a person's struggle between identity, purpose, and projection. We all are constantly trying to define our identity between our own delusion, heteronomy, and reality. As this might be read as a text on racism, I would argue it simply addresses identity issues at large. That racism, "white man's burden", colonialism, and slavery still linger through the ages, is a given, but it is the individual's struggle to find his or her place in the world tat really matters. Funny enough white man travel to Asia and indulge into the illusion of "yellow fever" while white women seek the holy grail of sexual nirvana in Africa - but what does it really say about human nature? It is the other, eternally defined as something unattainable, the promise of a better tomorrow that, let's be honest, will never come. But that is not the point of this novel that deals with a fish-out-of-water turning from a seeker to a seer: It is the jazzy and irreverent prose that takes us down the rabbit hole of a "former" fascist society struggling with the contradiction of its failure to implement the bizarre nightmares of racism and its inability to make amends that transcend the narrow horizon of its overcast sky, while seeking definite absolution for the holocaust - but it does not matter if the final solution is worse than slavery - in the end it is that we are all human besides our divisive, and absurd, ideas about what constitute the other and ourselves. Music will slave us to a common beat with all our foibles and fears... I was blown away by this work and its style. I like to see this adopted into a movie. Paul let me know if you are interested...
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terri Lee-Johnson on September 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Paul Beatty has written a really scathing and hilarious tale about a Black guy, who goes by DJ Darky, on his journey of creating the perfect beat. The most significant part of this journey involves him going to Berlin to get validation from his musical hero, jazz musician Charles Stone, who he and his friends- The Beard Scratchers- have affectionately dubbed "The Schwa". This novel presents ideas of race, culture, and music with language that's lyrical and cheeky. From the opening page, DJ Darky declares that Blackness is over and while reflecting on years of tanning says: "My complexion has darkened somewhat; it's still a nice nonthreatening sitcom Negro brown, but now there's a pomegranate-purple undertone that in certain light gives me a more villainous sheen." Brilliant!

I was laughing out loud from just the first few pages. This is rare that a book invokes emotion in me that's evident. This has to be my favorite book thus far for the year. That this book's focal point is music and the level of music snobbery by the host of such thoughtful characters was so on point for me as I can be quite a music snob. Slumberland is like your favorite movie from which you love to quote every other line. Yes, this book has too many lines I want to quote. I'm glad I held on to Beatty's White Boy Shuffle even though I couldn't get into it on my first attempt many years ago. I think I have more appreciative eyes towards his writing now.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dogberry on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Paul Beatty's novel Slumberland may leave you with more questions than answers, but somehow, that's just fine. Set in Berlin just as the Wall was coming down, Slumberland explores race, bigotry, music, fame, obscurity and about a dozen other topics through DJ Darky, Schallplattenunterhalter extraordinaire. DJ Darky, a young Los Angelino, heads to Berlin to locate a mysterious jazz musician who has been somehow forgotten behind the Iron Curtain, because only he- Charles Stone, AKA the Schwa- can complete Darky's "perfect beat," a groove so amazing, it can breaks hearts and mend them, make a man see God and simultaneously question His existence.

Equal parts Confederacy of Dunces, High Fidelity, Big Fish, and some other stuff I haven't read yet, Slumberland is funny, irreverent and substantive.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cmt on March 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul Beatty is one of my all-time favorite writers, and with Slumberland, he does not disappoint. His sense of humor and comedy strongly mirror my own. He is HILARIOUS! He is brilliant and his world seems at once vast and peculiarly small. He is, in my opinion, his generation's best writer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Smallridge on July 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I read in 2008. The story is chaotic; however, Beatty once again pulls off a read that at once moves a reader into Europe during a time of evolution while also localizing a story about a man coming to understand himself. This is a great read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By litloveIQ84 on February 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
grand book by a lovely new york writer about berlin just before the fall of the berlin wall. much fun and wisdom, totally enjoyable novel.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Twain on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Comment on the first review by DatDudeCrazee. Trust his monicker: he is crazy. Slumberland is Beatty's most mature novel and, so far, his best. Trust the reviews above, like the one from the Washington Post. Trust Beatty, he is the real thing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jim Cooper on September 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Beatty has written a wise and funny glimpse of African-American angst as seen through the paradiddles of noise masquerading as music. The story may be set in Germany during The Wall collapse, but the text mirrors the culture and attitude of American thought, juxtaposing post-Nazi German population coping with the sins of the past with post-Lincoln African-American life still muddling through the oppression of past and present; all played to the funkiest jukebox in Berlin. A great read...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?