Creative Commons License
Super Friends by Whitney Holwadel Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at whit-superfriends.blogspot.com. Super Friends: The House of Sleep

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The House of Sleep

To all those who were concerned: My shoulder is now as good as new and I'd like to thank everyone for their well-wishes. Despite the enormous amount of excruciating pain immediately following, the actual damage must have been minor, because after taking two Advil before bed, I awoke the next morning feeling wholly refreshed and pain-free. Either the incident wasn't anywhere near as serious as it felt, or Advil is some kind of miracle drug. Not that a miracle isn't an unreasonable thing to expect from a pill that costs $6 for a bottle of 20. At that price I should be able to eat a few and regenerate a few limbs.

Anybody need a good book to read? Nina the Fabulous Internet Sleuth sent Jonathan Coe's novel The House of Sleep to me earlier this month and I am now the newest of Coe's writing disciples. This man can weave a plot like a set of 10,000-thread-count sheets. Nominally a love story, this could probably be better described as an obsession story.

The book's chapters alternate between the lives of the four central characters while living in a rundown cliff-side manor which was being used as a boarding house for the university they all attended in the mid-eighties and then fast-forwards about a decade later when they reflect on how circumstances, events and decisions during their school years influence each other's lives in their thirties.

Sarah is a peculiar girl; a narcoleptic who often mistakes her dreams for actual events. Sarah's psyche is severely damaged by Gregory, her equally odd ex-boyfriend who has an unnatural fascination with sleeping habits. Terry's passion for cinema drives him to several extremes, while Terry's friend Robert has some serious identity issues.

The House is a truly excellent book, the kind that sucked me in and held me in a death grip until the last page. Mildly disturbing and extremely funny, there isn't anyone I wouldn't recommend this book to.

12 comments:

Nina the Internet sleuth said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed this book as much as I did :)

Unfortunately not all his books are that good. I read "The Dwarves of Death" one year after "The House of sleep", and although it's an entertaining book, it didn't fully convince me.
I started another one ("Winshaw Legacy" I believe) during Summer 2007, which seemed to be really good but I never got to read more than 20 pages or so.
I read over someone's shoulder in the Subway that Coe wrote a new book recently ("The Rain before it falls").

Other than that, thanks for advertising my awesome reading tastes ;)

~N~

Whit Smith said...

I reread my son Whit's blog pretty often, difficult as it is sometimes. Today, June 30, 2012, I read this post again. And as usual, I'm just bowled over by his writing. I mean, where for example did he come up with "This man can weave a plot like a set of 10,000-thread-count sheets."? How did a 24-year old who had spent most of the previous 6 years of his life in prison even know about threat count of sheets? And his writing is full of this: similes, analogies, references that leave me wishing I had the ability to write a sentence like that. Whit, you were a sensitive, gifted writer, far beyond your
age and your formal education. And you were my only son, whom I loved more than life itself.

Jeff

D.Cairns said...

The Whitney Smith saga is fascinating. I have been reading up on this subject for 2 days straight.

Whit Smith said...

Thank you, D. Cairns. It's very gratifying to me, Whit's father, to see that his voice still carries.

Ashley P said...

Just found this blog today! Went looking for a book version to send a loved one in prison and found it along with sad news of whits death. Know that he lives on! So sorry for your loss.

Whit Smith said...

Thank you for reading, Ashley. Did you find the Amazon link for the book? Otherwise you can get a copy directly if you happen to be in Cincinnati.

Ashley P said...

I'm in st Louis actually. No worries I found it. After reading whits last blog post I'm unsure if I should send it. I want a copy for myself, I just was certain when I read the first few this story was going to end well. I just want to hug you!

Whit Smith said...

Well, I understand your hesitation in sending it. On several levels it's not a hopeful story given how tragically it ended, and of course I don't know your loved one's situation. Your call obviously. As an aside, one of his friends mentioned in the blog ("Tiny") is back in prison and I sent him a copy. He tells me it's been circulating there at FCI Gilmer so much that he tells guys they have 7 days to read it because there's always someone else who's "reserved" it.

I had one of the performances of the play "Blogging Behind Bars" video recorded and put play online (Vimeo) if you're interested in watching it. Let me know if so; it's password protected and I'll need to give you the PW.

Thanks. I could use a hug.

Ashley P said...

Sending hugs from st Louis then! Is there a way to private message you my email. I'd love to see it!

Whit Smith said...

You can email me directly if you like: jeff.transtech@gmail.com

Whit Smith said...

Or if you prefer you can just friend me on FB and I'll PM you that way.
https://www.facebook.com/jeff.transtech

Ashley P said...

FR sent!