Before I go to sleep
by S J Watson
This is SJ Watson's first novel and was recommended by Belle.
This book has a really unusual premise, sufficiently unusual to make it a worthwhile investment of your time if for no other reason. Having said that, its a compelling tale and one which gripped me in the reading, and left me pondering its implications long after the last page was turned.
Its the tale of an amnesiac (don't forget that!), who suffered a trauma which caused her to lose all her recent memories when she falls asleep. Each morning she wakes to not only a new day but also a new life. Ah, Groundhog Day I hear you cry - well, no. In Groundhog Day - there he wakes to exactly the same world each day but recollects the ones before and so the story builds.
Watson has the challenge of making a coherent story out of a forty something woman who wakes up each day thinking she is still in her mid 20's. How to make the story progress is the challenge. The solution is a daily journal in which all the fragments of memory are recorded and gradually build on to a cohesive record of her past - but how to ensure she remembers to write the journal each day? Enter the pioneering doctor who phones her each morning and tells her to look in the bottom of her wardrobe....
This is a scary world to inhabit where little is certain and each day has to start with an ever increasing volume of data to assimilate, a bit like re booting your PC - the more programmes you have on it the longer it takes. And then, does she believe what she has already written, and why has she written "Don't trust Ben" (her husband) on the front cover?.
The tale comes to a compelling an satisfying finale, with enough loose ends tied to complete the story but equally enough left flapping in the breeze to leave you wondering.
A very good first novel and well worth a read.