Monday, June 29, 2009

Book/Magazine Review: The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.

The Little Sleep isn't your typical private investigator novel mainly because Paul Tremblay comes up with the perfect conceit--and handicap--for his protagonist: narcolepsy. It's a clever excuse and thankfully, the author succeeds in making the most out of this condition. For example, the first chapter is this surreal scene where the main character's client approaches him with fingers that aren't her own. What would have been a simple mystery plot-wise becomes this intricate labyrinth as our hero doesn't even know who his employer is, or what exactly it is he's trying to solve.

That's not only Tremblay's ace in the hole and a good chunk of the book is spent on characterization. There are numerous scenes where the protagonist has flashbacks with his deceased father, a relevant scene that deals both with his relationships and the case he's working on. In any other setting, this might feel contrived but in terms of the novel, it fits perfectly.

Another commendable aspect of the book is the conciseness and brevity of the prose. Tremblay preserves a distinct rhythm that's not just easy to digest but conveys all the necessary details.

The Little Sleep is an interesting read and is infused with fantastical sensibilities while still remaining faithful to the tropes of the crime and mystery genre. Even if you're not the type who reads such stories, this is still a welcome treat as Tremblay's prose is accessible and compelling.

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