In a run-down student residence in South London, Annelie Strandli, a beautiful but confused designer, who is disorientated after leaving her native Finland, finds herself gravitating towards Berry Walker, an insomniac and aspiring writer.
JR Crook is this year’s winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary with his novel ‘Sleeping Patterns’. It’s a slim volume – with a tactile cover and beautiful smooth paper – so probably more accurately described as a novella. But it is packed tight with layers of textual intrigue for the reader. This is one you can’t sit back and let wash over you. You have to engage with the text. You have to work as a reader to make sense of what is going on. In these days of instant gratification and transient desires, this is an exciting, energising prospect and should be grabbed and grappled with. Questions are asked; some answers are given; some need to be pondered. What is the relationship between reader and writer? Who is narrating? Who should we trust to tell us the story? What is the story? And do we live life chronologically? Or do we live in the past, present and future all at once…?
‘Sleeping Patterns is a puzzle, a shattered narrative that urges the reader to piece it back together. It is a story of love and the complexities of colliding relationships. It slowly releases the narrative segments needed to unravel each character as you go further in. This approach to form may be unusual, but it is a pleasure to become entangled in, creating a compelling atmosphere with a sense of true realism.’ – Unit Number
I think the above quote brilliantly sums up this book. Oh, and did I mention the language? It has some very beautiful language.
‘Sleeping Patterns’ is published by Legend Press.