Monday, February 22, 2010

"No Sleep till Wonderland"

Paul Tremblay is the author of The Little Sleep. He has won acclaim for his short fiction and received two nominations for the Bram Stoker Award.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, No Sleep till Wonderland, and reported the following:
No Sleep till Wonderland is the follow-up to The Little Sleep and features narcoleptic PI Mark Genevich, who is actually worse off than when we left him, with his business in the tank and his landlord-mother forcing him to attend group therapy sessions. Desperate for companionship, Mark befriends Gus, who is charismatic but someone he knows very little about. Gus asks Mark to protect another friend who is being stalked and all kinds of trouble follows.

On pg 69 (like with pg 69 of The Little Sleep) Mark is in his office talking with a police detective. It’s a rule of the PI genre that discussions with the police must occur on or by the 69th page.

Detective Owolewa claims he and Mark had already had a conversation earlier that morning. Mark doesn’t remember, of course. They discuss some of Mark’s narcolepsy symptoms and Detective Owolewa is surprisingly knowledgeable about the disease, having clearly done some homework. Owolewa asks Mark if he’s awake now. Mark responds with:

“I think so. Unless you’re another unpleasant dream. I could be Jacob Marley, and you could be the undigested bit of beef, the crumb of cheese.”

While Mark still falls asleep and has his dream interludes, No Sleep till Wonderland is much more based in reality than the previous novel. Mark’s difficult present is the theme: what’s missing from his life in terms of companionship, his strained relationship with his mother, and his daily struggle for independence and happiness. His judgment and trust of other people is constantly tested, and like most of us, he fails as often as he succeeds.

Toward the bottom of the page, Mark says, “Let’s get to it, Detective. Never keep a narcoleptic waiting, or is it don’t feed him after midnight? I get the rules mixed up.

Detective Owolewa gets to it, revealing that he found something in Mark’s possession that could result in his arrest.

Ever the optimist, Mark ends the page with:

I almost swallow my cigarette. I’m sure he notices.
Read an excerpt from No Sleep till Wonderland and watch the video.

Learn more about the author and his work at Paul Tremblay's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue