So Many Ways to Sleep Badly

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly

by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
     
 

“Sycamore kicks mainstream literature in the teeth.”—The San Francisco Bay Guardian

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's exhilarating new novel is about struggling to find hope in the ruins of everyday San Francisco—battling roaches, Bikram Yoga, chronically bad sex, NPR, internet cruising, tweakers, the cops, $100 bills, chronic pain, the

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Overview

“Sycamore kicks mainstream literature in the teeth.”—The San Francisco Bay Guardian

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's exhilarating new novel is about struggling to find hope in the ruins of everyday San Francisco—battling roaches, Bikram Yoga, chronically bad sex, NPR, internet cruising, tweakers, the cops, $100 bills, chronic pain, the gay vote, vegan restaurants, and incest, with the help of air-raid sirens, herbal medicine, late-night
epiphanies, sea lions, and sleeping pills. So Many Ways to Sleep Badly unveils a gender-bending queer world where nothing flows smoothly, except for those sudden moments when everything becomes lighter or brighter or easier to imagine.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the gender-bending author of the highly praised novel Pulling Taffy and the editor of the anthology Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. Sycamore writes regularly for a variety of publications, including Bitch, Utne Reader, AlterNet, Make/Shift, and MaximumRocknRoll.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Novelist (Pulling Taffy) and nonfiction anthologist (Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity) Sycamore is back with an ambitious but less-than-compelling satire of drug-fueled, gender-bending San Francisco subculture. The narrator, who may or may not be genetically female, fills days and many late nights with relentless sexual encounters and vivid ruminations concerning random sex, hustling, cocaine and other party drugs; occasionally, she takes time out for a rare healthy habit, vikram yoga, and to worry about her apartment's roach-and-rodent infestation. Obviously inspired by the stream-of-consciousness and day-in-the-life classics of Joyce, Woolf and Beckett, here the pointed commentary falls flat; the problem isn't San Francisco's eccentric denizens, but Sycamore's profane meanderings, too much of which isn't especially insightful or funny. The narrator takes far too long to move beyond the bitchy play-by-play, making sure that, by the time Sycamore introduces genuine stakes, readers will already feel too bored and browbeaten to care. (Oct.)

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Extra!
So Many Ways to Sleep Badly offers up the events of Sycamore's own life in a frantically paced stream of consciousness narrative. Her writing swings between poetic and horrifying as her ambiguously gendered central character lies awake in San Francisco's rundown Tenderloin district, disturbed by roaches and rats and the real or imagined pigeons in the ceiling of her apartment, before taking off to service a variety of seedy men in the city's most expensive hotels.
—Cate Simpson
Curve Magazine
This Lambda Literary Award finalist offers up a thrilling socio-politically transgressive, gender-bending queer novel about life in San Francisco. From bad sex to vegan restaurants to NPR and tweaking buddies, Sycamore's frenetic pace and unabashed solipsism is most refreshing.
—Diane Anderson-Minshall
Library Journal

Sycamore's second novel (his first, 2003's Pulling Taffy, was nominated for a Lambda Award) is a high-speed, stream-of-consciousness romp that could easily have been subtitled "looking for love in all the wrong places." In 27 chapters, a flamboyantly queer sex worker named Tyler, aka Mattilda to his friends and anarcho-feminist comrades, takes readers into a world where well-heeled men rent ritzy penthouse suites while others grapple with AIDS, cockroach- and rat-infested apartments, depression, incest, and, of course, insomnia. By turns raunchy and tender, Sycamore's wryly neurotic text is often funny, and his optimism that a better world is possible makes the book compelling. Subtly political, he posits friendship, camaraderie, and activism as ways to defy the morass of Republicrat rule. What's more, in quips worthy of Stephen Colbert, he slams San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, the Iraq War, and the queer rush to the altar celebrated by mainstream liberals. Sexually explicit, the book is recommended for adult fiction collections.
—Eleanor Bader

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780872864689
Publisher:
City Lights Books
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Richard Labonte
...Sycamore's luscious prowess with prose—coupled with an easy gender fluidity—is evocative and provocative and literarily seductive.

Meet the Author


Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author of the novel, Pulling Taffy, and the editor of four nonfiction anthologies, including Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and That's Revoling! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation. Sycamore writes regularly for a variety of publications, including Bitch, Utne Reader, AlterNet, Make/Shift, and Maximumrocknroll. She lives in San Francisco.

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