Written by Mike Bennett
Publisher: Seed Publishing
Original Language: English
Read from 2014-02-22 to 2014-03-27
Read in English
Review: I first encountered One Among the Sleepless many years ago, when I listened to it as a story released in the form of a podcast. I continued following Mike Bennet’s offerings, and while I eventually couldn’t remember that much about One Among the Sleepless, I always remembered liking it. I therefore felt a little nervous about reading it. What if I didn’t like it this time around?
I still like it.
From the outset, the story seems like a down to earth tale about relatively normal people living their lives in relatively normal ways. Then the book gradually takes a turn for the weird, gets stranger, and then goes onto rather cleverly bouncing back and forth between absurdity and utter normality. In a strange way the book never feels too ridiculous or unlikely, even at the heights of its absurdity. The book has a collection of interesting characters. They don’t develop much, but they don’t need to: they serve their purpose very well, and drive the story onward. Some of the characters are thoroughly likable, charming, and witty people. Others are horrible, strange, mad, or all of the above. These elements are balanced rather well. It has to be mentioned that this book has quite a large amount of debauchery in it. Thankfully it never seems out of place. Occasionally overdone, yes, but very deliberately so, and only to create the sense of excessiveness, and sometimes absurdity, that is called for in many of the book’s scenes. My biggest problem with the book is the ending. While it wasn’t bad, it seemed to fizzle out, giving the impression of ending without the story being quite finished. I’m all for open endings, but this seemed incomplete rather than open. It didn’t leave me guessing, but rather left me just not knowing. It didn’t even leave me with the feeling of anything being unresolved. It just stopped. In a story revolving so heavily around characters, it would be nice to have a little more closure for at least some of them.
Overall One Among the Sleepless was a very enjoyable read. It’s not for everyone, but if you aren’t easily offended, if you like slightly strange stories, and if you feel like a quick, darkly funny, entertaining, very British piece of good fun, you could do much worse.