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The Sleep Watcher

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399710657

Price: £24.99

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The strange and tender new novel from Costa-shortlisted author Rowan Hisayo Buchanan: a sixteen-year-old girl watches her parents’ marriage implode and her family shatter from a surreal viewpoint.

‘That summer, my mind separated from my body as completely as an egg cracked from its shell. The splitting began in those hazy days just after exams were done when everything should have been easy.’

When she is sixteen, Kit suffers a summer of sleeplessness that isn’t quite what it seems; her body lies in bed while she wanders through her family home, the streets of her run-down seaside town and into the houses of friends and strangers. Unseen and unheard, she witnesses her parents and their deteriorating relationship in a painful new way. Her home thrums with quiet violence that she can no longer ignore. With this secret knowledge it becomes impossible not to react and a single word soon changes everything.

Intimate, tense and exquisitely observed, The Sleep Watcher is a moving portrait of family, danger and guilt, captured through the strange summer heat of adolescence.

‘A startling talent’ Guardian

The Sleep Watcher is a bracing and compelling portrayal of adolescence and feeling uncanny at home. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is one of the most distinctive and luminously original novelists of her generation’ Sharlene Teo

‘Elegant, atmospheric, sharp-edged… The Sleep Watcher is a novel that obsessed me from the moment I opened the cover.’ Cal Flyn

The writing is incredibly beautiful and unbearably tense – I had to hold my breath as I read. It is exquisite.’ Ruth Gilligan, author of The Butchers

‘An incredibly moving story about connection, loneliness, and what we do when we think no one else is watching. Beautifully written – Buchanan’s prose has a brilliantly sensitive touch.’ Julianne Pachico

‘A beguiling, atmospheric work, at once wary and tender, of how we haunt our parents and how they in turn possess us.’ Peter Ho Davies

(P) 2023 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Reviews

With agonising precision, The Sleep Watcher captures that estranging moment of young womanhood when you suddenly realise your body, your parents, your whole world is nothing like you thought. The writing is incredibly beautiful and unbearably tense - I had to hold my breath as I read. It is exquisite.
Ruth Gilligan, author of <i>The Butchers</i>
In her uncanny central conceit Buchanan has hit on a perfect metaphor for the estrangement of adolescence. The Sleep Watcher is a beguiling, atmospheric work, at once wary and tender, of how we haunt our parents and how they in turn possess us.
Peter Ho Davies, author of THE FORTUNES
The Sleep Watcher simmers with tension and a constant threat of violence - and yet it is so delicately and cleanly observed as to make reading a pleasure. A pitch-perfect evocation of coming of age in a seaside town - with all the freedom and risk that comes of growing up among flawed and fractured adults. Elegant, atmospheric, sharp-edged . . . it is a novel that obsessed me from the moment I opened the cover.
Cal Flyn, author of <i>Islands of Abandonment</i>
An incredibly moving story about connection, loneliness, and what we do when we think no one else is watching. Beautifully written - Buchanan's prose has a brilliantly sensitive touch.
Julianne Pachico, author of THE LUCKY ONES
Buchanan has written a beautiful book. In The Sleep Watcher she manages to a tell a story that is ethereal and other-worldly while being heart-breakingly human. We are lucky to have her unique voice.
Paul McVeigh
Charged with the otherworldliness and shrewd social perception found in the works of Shirley Jackson and Octavia Butler, The Sleep Watcher is a bracing and compelling portrayal of adolescence and feeling uncanny at home. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is one of the most distinctive and luminously original novelists of her generation and I'll read anything she writes.
Sharlene Teo, author of PONTI
In elegant and restrained prose, the novel charts one young woman's summer of heat and dreams, of longing and rebellion, of relationships deteriorating and new experiences rising. No one is writing about the interior worlds of women like Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. The Sleep Watcher is an astonishing achievement, in which ordinary life and a magnificent unreality collide. I loved it.
Gemma Seltzer, author of <i>Ways of Living</i>
The Sleep Watcher is a taut and vicious thrum of a novel, deceptively pretty and mesmerising as the calm before a storm. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan cuts close to the bone with her insights on family and secrecy, trust and power, and the dangerous, double-edged keenness of intimacy
C Pam Zhang, author of <i>How Much of These Hills Is Gold</i>
I absolutely adored The Sleep Watcher. It is so finely wrought - with an aching, delicate beauty and suspense
Jessica J. Lee
Slippery, luminous, ethereal . . . like finding sea glass at the beach. Hisayo Buchanan writes like a dream, only this time her subject is also dreams, liminal spaces, adolescence on the brink of adulthood, sleep that skirts the rim of waking, what is real about her father at the creeping dawn of a young woman's realisation. She is my favourite contemporary writer
Abigail Tarttelin
A lyrical, bracing read, wearing the influences of Kazuo Ishiguro, Ruth Ozeki and Virginia Woolf light as a perfume
Annabel Nugent, Independent
Beautifully written and compelling
Daily Mail
The pleasure in Buchanan's writing lies in her insightful phrases and shrewd observations
Suzi Feay, Guardian
Thoughtful . . . nuanced and powerful
Alex Peake-Tomkinson, Spectator
Affecting . . . both tense and tender
Sophie Mackintosh, Observer
A powerful meditation on the realisations that come with adolescence
Pat Carty, Irish Times