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Before I Go to Sleep
by S. J. Watson

Overview -

"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . ."

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?  Read more...


 
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More About Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
 
 
 
Overview

"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . ."

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

Author S.J. Watson makes his powerful debut with this compelling, fast-paced psychological thriller, reminiscent of Shutter Island and Memento, in which an amnesiac who, following a mysterious accident, cannot remember her past or form new memories, desperately tries to uncover the truth about who she is -- and whom she can trust.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062060556
  • ISBN-10: 0062060554
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: June 2011
  • Page Count: 360


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Psychological

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-05-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

Memories—real, false, and a bit of both—are at the heart of British author Watson's haunting, twisted debut. Christine Lucas awakens each morning in London with no idea who she is or why she's in bed with a strange man, until he tells her that his name is Ben and they've been married for 22 years. Slowly, Christine learns that she has amnesia and is unable to remember her past or retain new memories: every night when she falls asleep, the slate is wiped clean. Dr. Nash, her therapist, has encouraged her to write in a journal that she keeps secret from Ben. Christine realizes how truly tangled—and dangerous—her life is after she sees the words "don't trust Ben" written in her journal, whose contents reveal that the only person she can trust is herself. Watson handles what could have turned into a cheap narrative gimmick brilliantly, building to a chillingly unexpected climax. (June)

 
BookPage Reviews

Murder and memory

The pre-publication hyperbole on S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep has easily matched that of any fiction debut in recent memory, with accolades from luminaries such as Dennis Lehane, Mo Hayder and Val McDermid. So what’s all the fuss about? The basic premise, that of an amnesia victim suffering from debilitating short-term memory loss, has been thoroughly mined in print (James Hilton’s Random Harvest, G.H. Ephron’s Amnesia) and cinema (50 First Dates, Memento). Where Watson diverges from the formula is in his exhaustive exploration of one woman’s spiral into paranoia. Does Christine have a happy marriage, or is it a total sham? Does she have a son, and if so, did he die in Iraq, or is that just a figment of her overworked imagination? And what’s up with her doctor, anyway? From early on, it is clear that her husband is not being entirely truthful with her, but to what end—Christine’s well-being or something darker? On the sly, Christine begins keeping a journal, documenting the inconsistencies in the stories she is told by those she thought she could trust, leading to a showdown of epic proportions.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, Before I Go to Sleep is unquestionably a suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, relentlessly paced, but there are a couple of stumbling points that stretch taut the fabric of coincidence in the interest of furthering the plot. That said, the novel is a noteworthy debut indeed, and it’s not difficult to see why this former British NHS worker has caused such a stir in literary circles.

 
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