OVERRIDE

He Sleeps

A Novel

Reginald McKnight

Picador

African American anthropologist Bertrand Milworth has ostensibly come to Senegal to do field research. But in truth, he has left his home in Denver to gain a fresh perspective on his marriage, which is troubled by an unusual sexual and racial conundrum. Struggling to fit in with his new Senegalese family—Alaine, his wife Kene, and their young daughter—Bertrand is, for the the first time in his life, haunted by surreal and increasingly violent dreams. His waking hours are no less sinister; unwittingly, it seems, Bertrand has become caught in the tension—sexual and otherwise—building between the married couple. His relations with the rest of the village community are also strained; he can't escape the sensation that he's being set up for a grand-scale betrayal. As his sense of isolation and alienation escalates, he comes to believe that not only his fragile sense of identity but his very life is at stake.

He Sleeps is "a love story," as Frederick Busch has noted, "in letters and an anthropologist's report. Its subjects are language, sexuality, and race . . . The revelations of this tough, taut novel are about the waking realities of how we live right here."

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Praise for He Sleeps

"A sly, deep, perverse study of black middle-class alientation...Subtle and beautifully tuned. McKnight has fused poetic structure with the suspense thriller." --The New York Times Book Review

"Extraordinary...With fluid, frank authority, McKnight addresses the sticky ironies of racial and national identity." --The Seattle Times

"The book itself seems blessed....McKnight's novel pays homage to the African literary tradition at the same time it takes on a hallucinatory life of its own." --Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio

"McKnight forces us to think about race, sex, denial, but even more significantly, he forces us to feel." --Los Angeles Times

"An extraordinary novel, technically daring and thematically subtle and complicated. Bertrand's loneliness transcends race and time." --Ha Jin, author of Waiting

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Reginald McKnight

  • Reginald McKnight teaches at the University of Michigan. He has received an NEA Grant, an O. Henry Award, a Whiting Award, and the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. His previous work includes Moustapha's Eclipse, I Get on the Bus, The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas, and White Boys.
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Available Formats and Book Details

He Sleeps

A Novel

Reginald McKnight

Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Finalist, Society of Midland Authors Book Awards - Winner, Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Finalist, Society of Midland Authors Book Awards - Winner
  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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