Stages of Sleepby Nicholas Thurkettle, Heather McMillen (Illustrator), Kevin Necessary (Illustrator)
15 short stories from writer/actor/filmmaker Nicholas Thurkettle explore the changes that come as we pass from the waking world into dreams. We begin in reality, with tales that are sometimes funny, sometimes painful, all set in the world we recognize - where a wounded soldier asks his best friend to assist him in a strange attempt at healing, and a cranky old retiree becomes a most inconvenient messenger of love.
Then, we drift into another place, where the seemingly-real is invaded - by the secret thoughts and dreams of a household appliance, and by centaurs that saunter into a bar to rid it of all things khaki.
Finally we are cast loose into pure dreams, where an insurance specialist can enjoy wild outer space adventures, and a nameless storyteller is offered a glimpse of an unusual and captivating Hell by none other than the Devil.
It's a tour through places not summed up by the word "reality", but nevertheless, all true to our lives.
- Nicholas Thurkettle
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.55(d)
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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite “The prose piece I am proudest of, and which you can read in this collection, was conceived when I took a notepad to bed with me and determined to write down what came to mind as I passed out of wakefulness. Naturally enough, one of the first words on my mind that night was “sleep.” I wrote it down. I played with synonyms of it, and soon found my way to “hibernate.” And as I pondered the nature of hibernation I found the seed of what became the story ‘Torpor’.” Nicholas Thurkettle’s Stages of Sleep is a collection of 15 short stories that are divided into three parts; The Waking World, The Passage, and Dreams. Each part starts with enigmatic illustrations by Heather McMillen. Included in Part I (The Waking World) Torpor is quite the centerpiece. It’s a story about Darius, a disaffected veteran who puzzlingly decides to hibernate with the help of a friend, who seems to be affected by the hibernation more than Darius himself. Thurkettle’s writing is clear and fine-tuned. That said, to quote his own words, “there are stories in here that you won’t ‘get’.” One such story is The Staring Man. Maurice, the night manager, had quite an eventful shift: naked people ran through the lobby, several bizarre sleep callers - guests who called the front desk in the middle of the night in their sleep - and a guest who was determined to see the sunrise. But the one who caught his attention the most was the man sitting by the tourist brochures, not moving for hours, who just sat staring ahead. I will give nothing much away but the story ended with a corn cob. Simply put, Stages of Sleep is not a cookie cutter type of collection. Readers who like to immerse themselves in surrealism should pick up this book.
I can only assume Nicholas Thurkettle is a light sleeper or does not get much sleep. A quick perusal of his website bio confirmed my suspicions; his is a busy life. A lucid dreamer he may be. His book, Stages of Sleep, caught my eye on the website Story Cartel. The concept is interesting; a collection of stories with an overall theme; sleep. He’s quite honest in his forward regarding stories you may not like or “get” as he puts it. However, anyone who dreams should get it quite fine. Abrupt starts, philosophical appliances, a perspective reminiscent of Douglas Adams regarding the insurance industry, nonsensical endings, and faces on a stick are just a few of his dreams awaiting you. Homam, the Very Helpful Genie and Bubbles were two very fun stories. My time was well spent. If you like cookie cutter stories with normal beginnings, middles, and ends then I suggest you pass on Stages of Sleep. However, if you are naturally inquisitive, have an interest in physics, and question why we still don’t have an answer for how we spend a third of our lives then please, pick up his book.