Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Before I Go To Sleep

Christine wakes up.  She doesn't know the man beside her and assumes the worst.  However, after getting up and entering the bathroom she discovers there are notes all around the mirror, and a photograph of her and the man together.  These inform her that he is her husband.  Christine finds out that she had an accident that affected her short-term memory, and thus everyday is a new start for her.  Playing with the idea of memory and strong link it has to identity, Christine is desperately to trying to remember her life, but will she discover memories better left forgotten?

Again, I'm keeping this one to a list as it is very easy to go into spoiler territory, so here are the three non-spoiler things I liked:
  1. How Watson kept the repetitive nature of the plot in check.  This type of story could have easily strayed into a tedious rhythm of 'who am I?', yet this was avoided as each time a memory was repeated Watson provided new information that was critical to Christine's narrative.
  2. The accessible nature of Watson's writing.  Could read it in a day, or spend a week's holiday dipping in and out.
  3. The story kept unfolding right up until the end.

As a side note, in late May, I attended a Q+A with S.J Watson at the Norwich and Norfolk Millennium Library that Norwich Writers Centre had put on in accordance with their 2012 Summer Reads program.  It was an interesting evening, that skirted around spoilers (just in case people in the audience hadn't finished the book, or library visitors for that matter!) but still gave a good insight into Watson's writing process and then the publishing aspect of releasing the novel.  For example, he originally wanted his first novel to buck the trend and write something that was as far away from himself as possible.  However, although not obvious, there are traces of him throughout the book. 

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