The Little Sleep: A Novel

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This opacity of the world extends to Paul's protagonist, Mark Genevich, who remains obscure to himself in important ways, some of which are obvious to the reader, some of which emerge as genuine surprises to character and reader, both. Superficially, from his fedora to his wisecracks, Genevich is the generic P. In short order, though, it becomes apparent that this is not the case, or not entirely so, that Genevich's wise-cracking persona is just that, a mask he presents to the world--and to himself.

It's an effort at controlling his circumstance by a man whose lack of such control is a basic part of his daily experience. Of course, as Kurt Vonnegut reminds us, you may become that which you pretend to be, and in important ways, Genevich does emerge as a heroic figure. Despite that, however, there's a melancholy to his character that emerges in unexpected and poignant ways.

Indeed, in each book, the solution to the case at hand increases Genevich's melancholy, since it also involves the solution to some aspect of Genevich's own history, the revelation of crucial information about his past that leaves him more unsettled than he was when he started his investigation. It's not unheard of for the P.

While the novels benefit from being read in the order in which they were published, it's not absolutely necessary to do so, and this speaks to another of their strengths, Paul's decision to write each one so that it could stand on its own. In No Sleep Till Wonderland , Ellen is essentially absent; while the narrative's events take place solidly in Boston a Boston more vividly evoked than I've encountered before.

This book addresses its protagonist's present; it also contains one of the most nail-bitingly suspenseful scenes I've encountered in any work of fiction. If the books have anything in common, beyond their protagonist and their style, it would be a skepticism about authority that is typical of the P. In a way, the two "Sleep" novels and The Harlequin and the Train form a loose thematic trilogy in which Paul explores the ways in which we live with trauma and tragedy.

In Harlequin , his protagonist is ultimately overwhelmed by his life's circumstances, to the extent that he makes a series of disastrous and horrifying choices; in the "Sleep" books, Mark Genevich struggles not to be pulled under by the grip of his life's accidents. Together, the three books illustrate the range of Paul Tremblay's ambition and ability. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous.

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Yeah, she contacted me first, which means she likely has my number, but I have to do something to save face, to make me feel like something other than a stalker. I pull out the card between two nicotine-stained fingers and drop it on the table. The statues animate and land their heavy hands on each of my shoulders.

A multimedia plan B, whatever that is. Four Chapter Section Applications; qualifications of applicants An application for a license to engage in the private detective business or a license to engage in the business of watch, guard, or patrol agency shall be filed with the colonel of the state police on forms furnished by him, and statements of fact therein shall be under oath of the applicant. George and I dropped out of Curry College together, each with three semesters of criminal justice under our belts.

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We spent our last weekend in the dorm skimming the yellow pages, fishing for do-it-yourself career advice. At the end of the weekend, we closed our eyes and made our choices. I picked private investigation. I figured my mother, Ellen, who would not be pleased about my dropping out, might eventually be receptive given that a PI was somewhat related to my brief collegiate studies. I was right. Eight years ago I got my license. According to Massachusetts law, having fulfilled the outlined requirements and submitted the fifty-dollar application fee makes me, officially, Mark Genevich, Private Detective.

Such application shall include a certification by each of three reputable citizens of the commonwealth residing in the community in which the applicant resides or has a place of business, or in which the applicant proposes to conduct his business—. George was an upper-middle-class black kid from suburban New Jersey, but he pretended to be from Boston.

He wore a Sox hat and talked with a fake accent when we were out at a bar.

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He played Keno and bought scratch tickets. He told bar patrons that he was from Southie and he was Black Irish. More often than not, people believed him.

I cleaned rugs for him on the weekends. He had only one machine and its exhaust smelled like wet dog.

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I could do that because Ellen owned the building. Still does. The rug business name was Carpet Warriors. His white van had a pumped-up cartoon version of himself in standard superhero garb: tight red spandex, muscles bulging over other muscles, CW on his chest plate, and a yellow cape. Our buddy Juan-Miguel did the stenciling. George was not really a superhero. He was tall and lanky, his limbs like thin tree branches, always swaying in some breeze.

George was twenty-two years old. I was twenty-one. At Foxwoods, I played roulette and he played at the tables: blackjack and poker. We lost a shitload of money. His laugh was always louder than mine and more infectious.

The Little Sleep

A tire blew out. I heard it go and felt the sudden drop. Everything was dark. I broke the window but my body stayed in the van.


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The van fishtailed sideways, then rolled right over him. George died. I miss him. After the accident and the surgeries, I grew a beard to hide my damaged face. My left eye is now a little lower than my right, and smaller. Too bad the beard never covers my eyes.

The fedora—I wear it low— comes close. Postrecovery, I lived with Juan-Miguel and another college buddy in the Southie apartment above my office. My narcolepsy symptoms started as soon as I got back from the hospital, a creeping crawling terror from a bad horror flick. I was Michael Landon turning into the teenage werewolf.

I was always tired and had no energy, and I fell asleep while working on the computer or watching TV or eating breakfast or on the phone with potential clients. So I rarely answered the phone and tried to communicate solely by e-mail. I stopped going out unless it was to drink, which made everything worse.

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The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay

Juan-Miguel came home one night to find me half inside the tub, pants down around my ankles, hairy ass in the air. I told him I was passed out drunk. I had paralyzing nightmares and waking dreams, or I wandered the apartment like the Phantom of the Opera, man turned monster. They left their marks. Worst of all, I somnambulated into the TV room, freed myself from pants and underwear, lifted up a couch cushion, and let the urine flow.

I pissed on our couch every other week. I was worse than a goddamn cat. I denied it all, of course. If I was, it was because I drank too much. They were lying to me. They were leaving lit cigarettes on the kitchen table and on my bedspread. The cat was pissing on the couch, not me. The kicker was that I believed my own denials. The truth was too embarrassing and devastating. I argued with my roommates all the time. Argument became part of my character. Nothing they said was true or right, even the mundane proclamations that had nothing to do with me or my narcoleptic actions.

The only way I could consistently deny my new symptoms and odd behavior was to deny everything. My roommates moved out within the year. Narcolepsy is not a behavioral disorder.

Nothing is. I tried prescription drugs, but the chemical stimulants resulted in paranoia and wild mood swings. My heart. Mark Genevich is a South Boston P. See More. My heart Comi ngsoonf r om PaulTr embl ay :. Henry Holt. In the second and most moving story, Spade investigates a bank embezzlement and tries to save the life of Effie's beautiful of course young friend. Though the final part starts off more pedestrian -an investigation to find money that was supposedly raised to support Sun Yat-Sen's bid for power in China - it contains an astonishing twist and a particularly satisfying denouement that wraps up all three sections.

Throughout, Spade pursues an arch-villain and, as in Falcon, "Everyone has something to conceal. By rolling another cigarette, he reveals all the reader needs to know. As Spade untangles each case, he strips away complexities and complications, always adhering to advice he gives Effie, "Simple is always best, sweetheart. Contact her through www. Local Search Site Search. Home Delivery. The curious cases of the sleepy detectives By Hallie Ephron. Knopf, pp. Your Name Your e-mail address for return address purposes E-mail address of recipients separate multiple addresses with commas Name and both e-mail fields are required.

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