‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is an astounding piece of work from a debut writer who writes with confidence as if he has already mastered his craft.
This is a marvellous novel, multi-layered with suffering, frustration and anxiety blended with suspense that forces you to read Christine’s plight. Watson brings to the fore a scenario which is all too real and yet incomprehensible to those not inflicted with this terribly debilitating condition – or can even begin to imagine the havoc it wreaks to the loved ones involved. But Watson brings a sense of humanity to Christine, a woman with faults who is at odds with her existence, who only craves to do one simple thing – to remember.
With harsh, sharp, jagged strokes, Watson paints a picture and slowly reveals with precision what can happen when something we take so much for granted is taken away from us. Without making us pity her or making Christine look pathetic he introduces us to a tormented woman who will affect you long after you have turned the final page.
There is only a small cast of characters populating this novel which seems to make Christine’s world even more insular and intense. I believe this novel is what is called in the theatre as a ‘two-hander’ – Christine and her journal drive the plot along, one depending on the other and neither sure that anything can be accepted as truth. Are the words Christine wrote and forgotten on previous days pure fiction? Is Christine’s journal just that or is it full of the ravings of a damaged mind?
‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is a tour de force, a haunting tapestry woven from a single woman’s ragged thoughts, desperate to make sense of the past she constantly forgets. This is writing of the highest calibre, a ‘Pinteresque’ novel where the silences are as intense as the dialogue is full of emotion. I dare anyone to finish this book and not only be amazed with the denouement but to be shaken by the mere thought of forgetting everything you stand for by simply closing your eyes at night.