Yes, I know, it’s been a while since Sleepless was published, but hey, I just got around to reading it so…
First of all, I have to say straight away that I haven’t enjoyed a new novel this much in ages. At least since Banks’ Matter and probably even before that. As cool as Huston stuff has been in the past, I somehow connected to this novel in a very unique, for me, way. Not only is it particularly relevant and timely, it also created the sort of frisson I felt when I first read Gibson’s short stories or Womack’s novels, this sense of entering a fully realised near-future world, almost tactile in its feasibility and terrifying in its immediacy.
Sleepless takes place in a seemingly near-future version of LA (despite the fact that the story itself is set in 2010), where people suffer from an incurable disease that causes insomnia. Our main character is Parker Haas, a police officer, whose own wife suffers from the disease and who, working undercover, becomes involved in a case involving the drug Dreamer, which is the only substance that can temporarily alleviate the affliction. Perhaps inevitably, he becomes entangled in a web of corruption, money, drugs and politics as he tries to balance his personal morality and the demands of his investigation.
Let me repeat, this novel is fucking terrifying at times. It’s too close to home, in some ways, so very relateable and immersive, that you will continue considering its implications long after you’ve finished it. Huston’s novel unflinchingly explores the potential social and political implications of such a situation, economically and sparingly, sowing seeds that bear haunting fruit in the reader’s imagination, like all truly succesful works of art should.
I’m not writing anything else. Go get it now.