Read Naked Sleeper by Sigrid Nunez Online


Feckless, nervous, irresolute, often troubled with insomnia, Nona longs for a life of firm purpose, order and dignity. To do whatever is the work before her, letting nothing distract her, expecting nothing, fearing nothing -- the way of the Stoics -- this is her ideal. But despite all her stratagems, this ideal constantly eludes her. Life is too unpredictable, her sense ofFeckless, nervous, irresolute, often troubled with insomnia, Nona longs for a life of firm purpose, order and dignity. To do whatever is the work before her, letting nothing distract her, expecting nothing, fearing nothing -- the way of the Stoics -- this is her ideal. But despite all her stratagems, this ideal constantly eludes her. Life is too unpredictable, her sense of self too fragile and human relationships are too tenuous. She muddles along, a victim of her own anxieties and resentments, her behavior often as mystifying to herself as it is to others. Why though, happily married, does she fly across the country to pursue a man she hardly knows, whom she intuitively mistrusts and does not even much care for? In the aftermath of this calamity, Nona separates from her husband and undergoes a period of intense self-examination. Meanwhile, she struggles to complete a book about her father, a painter, who died when she was a child. Out of both projects -- her work of introspection and her work of memory -- arise thorny questions about love, identity and destiny. Unexpected support appears in the form of one of her father's old lovers, whom Nona now meets for the first time. But while this new friendship thrives, relations between Nona and her husband, and between Nona and her mother, with whom she shares an anguished history, seem to be coming apart. Nona has barely achieved a somewhat surer sense of herself and her way in the world when a series of grave, unforeseeable events threaten her precarious equilibrium.Compelling, emotionally charged and written with the psychological precision and exquisite detail that are among the hallmarks of Nunez's work, "Naked Sleeper" is aboutinescapable and sometimes unendurable complexities of love and the family drama. It is the story of a woman's search for self-knowledge, for understanding of others and for an answer to the imperative question: "How should she live?"...

Title : Naked Sleeper
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060928612
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 235 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Naked Sleeper Reviews

  • Meryl
    2019-02-28 06:51

    Naked Sleeper begins with the following passage: “Background is important. Things happen in the country that would never happen in the city. Things happen to people in strange places that would not happen to them at home. It isn’t true that people who cross the sea change their skies but not their natures. We are different depending on where we are.” The importance of never ignoring the sounds, scenery and past experiences that influence interpersonal relations is a refrain that presents itself in countless ways throughout this emotional tale of one woman’s attempts to understand her family history with the hope of freeing herself from its grip on her trajectory. At the start of the novel, forty year-old Nona, who teaches English to new immigrants, has just returned to Manhattan after a month-long writing retreat at an old friend’s rustic estate in the serenity of rural Illinois. She is writing a book about her father, a brooding alcoholic painter who she barely got to know before being whisked off to California as a child, following her parents’ divorce. Her father, Shep Shelton, died when she was a teenager, leaving her with an itch to discover who he was and how his demons mirrored her own. Nona and her mother, Rosalind, have a tempestuous relationship. During Nona’s teenage years, Rosalind was deeply depressed and distant, and failed to provide Nona with any emotional support. Although Rosalind and Nona have few things in common, Nona has always wished that they had a closer relationship. While Rosalind prefers to forget everything about her marriage and the time she spent in New York, Nona romanticizes her parents’ bohemian past, and the city that provided the backdrop to their lives. As Nona writes in her book, “It is strange to claim nostalgia for times and places one has never known, but I am not sure what to call this feeling of mine for the New York of before I was born, when my parents were newlyweds.” Rosalind wishes that Nona would leave the past alone, and claims that she will never read her book upon its completion.It is quickly revealed that although Nona is happily married to Roy, who is kind and adoring to her despite her anxious nature and many quirks, she has been exchanging letters with Lyle, who she met at the retreat. At first she dislikes Lyle, a brutish cheapskate in the midst of a divorce, but once his daily love letters begin to arrive, she questions whether she is missing something in her own seemingly solid relationship. Without much regard for potential consequences, she puts her marriage in jeopardy by flying across the country to Tuscon to explore her feelings for Lyle. Moments after her plane lands in Tuscon, Nona realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. Lyle is cold and judgmental, and their time together is strained and awkward. But when she returns home, she finds that Roy has also done some soul-searching during her weekend away and is unsure about whether the marriage is satisfying his needs. In marrying Nona, he has suppressed his dream of having a big family. Nona has always been afraid that she wouldn’t know how to be a good parent, because she hasn’t had any experience with good parenting models. The two separate. During her separation from Roy, Nona arranges a meeting with Tim Bannister, her father’s lover at the time of his death. Tim is one of the most likable characters in the book. A resident of the West Village, he keeps a journal of all the people he has known who have died, many of whom succumbed to AIDS. Tim is at first reluctant to tell Nona about her father, who was a pretty detestable man with little regard for his family. Shep had once told Tim, “A family is like a noose around an artist’s neck.” But once Tim realizes that Nona is not sentimental about her father, they develop a rapport, which finally helps Nona understand the good and bad qualities of Shep. Although he reveals that she physically resembles her father, shares his super-sensitivity to humiliation, morbid fear of failure and insomnia, she can now begin to release herself from the hold that this mysterious man has had on her sense of self and place in the world.The wandering third-person narrative style allows the reader to embrace the perspectives of these interesting well-developed characters as they struggle to separate their actions from the background. Nona finds solace in yoga, a practice which encourages her to detach. Her teacher tells her to “watch yourself as if you were someone else.” She embraces this way of dealing in comparison to psychotherapy, where she had always been scolded for being emotionally detached. In one of my favorite passages, Roy, a music teacher, describes his distaste for the proliferation of background music. “The number of places you could go where music was not playing was getting smaller all the time; he supposed public librarires would be net. He was amazed at how willing people were to give up quiet. Once in a restaurant, when he asked to have the stereo turned down, he got dirty looks from everyone and someone said ‘That’s the saddest thing man, when people hate music.’ But how could people who loved music stand hearing it as background for every banal human activity. Why was it assumed that because he wanted a cappuccino he wanted also to hear this schlocky recording of the Four Seasons?” The structure of this novel could be tighter. There are many leaps in time that seem unnecessary, and can be confusing. The ending feels abrupt, and maybe a bit convenient. The treat in reading this book is enjoying Nunez’s beautiful prose and spending time with these memorable characters, whose keen observations make the novel well worth reading.

  • Dawne
    2019-03-18 05:52

    Within a curious plot, deeply astute observation on the inner lives of women, and their fraught interactions with one another, emerges.

  • Beth
    2019-02-27 12:56

    Great book, I really enjoyed this one. It felt real. I think there are times in many people's lives when we wonder if we have made the right decisions and other times when we know that we didn't. I related to this book.Beautifully written. Even if there was no story to follow I would enjoy listening to the words roll through my mind.

  • Vivienne Strauss
    2019-03-02 07:51

    Amazing read, at times I felt I was reading my autobiography - so many thoughts I've had but expressed so much better than I would ever be able to. Like a few other books I just happened to read this year because they were seemingly on a shelf just waiting for me to pick them up.

  • Monty Wildhack
    2019-02-18 06:01

    So does the protagonist ever actually -do- anything?