Before I go to sleep : a novel
In this gripping psychological thriller, British author S.J. Watson explores the relationship between memory, identity and trust. The results are terrific - and terrifying.
When Christine Lucas wakes up each morning, she doesn't know where she is and doesn't recognize the man beside her - her husband, Ben. Christine is 47, but her memory mysteriously stalled out somewhere in her mid-twenties. The faithful Ben fills in the gaps, reminding her every day about their happy life together even though Christine will forget it all when she goes to sleep. Christine is secretly meeting with a doctor, who encourages her to keep a journal in order to record and recover her memories. Dr. Nash must call Christine every day to remind her that the journal exists and where she keeps it hidden. Why the secrecy? Christine isn't sure. But written at the top of the very first page are the words: Don't trust Ben.
Before I Go To Sleep is like some crazy mash-up of Memento, Groundhog Day, and Sleeping With the Enemy. It's also a page-turner right out of the gate, which is quite a feat considering that much of what happens involves the same events being played over and over as Christine relearns her own story each day. The pacing and plot are masterfully constructed, and Christine's anguish and essential strength are deftly conveyed. Who can she trust? What is real? How did she get this way? No spoilers will be given, but rest assured that the climax packs a heart-pounding punch. And the denouement is satisfying, if a bit pat. All in all, Before I Go To Sleep is a tense, finely wrought novel, and newcomer Watson is a writer to watch, especially for fans of this genre.