Review: The Second Sleep

sleepThe Second Sleep – Robert Harris

Excellent – a clever, absorbing post-apocalyptic story set 800 years in the future – the second sleep of the title referring to how people used to have a first sleep, wake during the night, and then fall into a second sleep.

Fairfax, the main character, is engaging and believable, though his rapid changes of heart through the story seem to happen a little easily. Every now and then small factual errors jerked my out of my immersion in the narrative (several references to a horse’s bridle when it made no sense, the context meaning it had to be the reins; a description of sheep lying down to feed their lambs – lambs nurse standing up from birth – but if you’re not a horse rider or familiar with the habits of sheep, you wouldn’t notice).

Harris gives you a lot to think about, though he paints in the world of the “Ancients” with a light brush. The plot rolls along satisfactorily, all the major characters are vivid, distinct, and likeable, and even when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I didn’t: the final couple of pages were genuinely surprising. Highly recommended.

Published by Hutchinson in 2019

About Roz Kay

Roz Kay is a writer and former journalist with her debut children’s novel, The Keeper of the Stones, appearing in 2020 from Hayloft Books. Roz's short fiction has been published under the name Roz DeKett in Fish Publishing’s 2017 Anthology, The Nottingham Review, The York Literary Review, and the Bedford International Writing Competition’s 2018 Anthology. She has also appeared as Roz Kay in the American children’s literary magazine, Cricket. As a news journalist, Roz worked for The Journal in the North East, the Liverpool Echo, and BBC local and national radio in Manchester. She is a graduate of the University of Leeds and lives in Wiltshire.
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