Read Sleeping Patterns by J.R. Crook Online


In a run-down student residence in South London, Annelie Strandli, a beautiful but confused designer, who is disorientated after leaving her native Finland, finds herself gravitating towards Berry Walker, an insomniac and aspiring writer. Berry is often introspective and withdrawn, but in his writings Annelie sees the chance to glimpse him as he truly is. With the help ofIn a run-down student residence in South London, Annelie Strandli, a beautiful but confused designer, who is disorientated after leaving her native Finland, finds herself gravitating towards Berry Walker, an insomniac and aspiring writer. Berry is often introspective and withdrawn, but in his writings Annelie sees the chance to glimpse him as he truly is. With the help of the narrator, she conspires to discover parts of a secret story that is concealed within his desk. As Annelie gradually puts the pieces together, she finds herself questioning not only her relationship to Berry, but ultimately the dividing line between fiction and memory. Sleeping Patterns is a novel of intricate layers, hidden within each a tale of love, uncertain meanings, and the relationship between writer and reader....

Title : Sleeping Patterns
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781908775528
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 112 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sleeping Patterns Reviews

  • Vishy
    2019-03-10 20:57

    I discovered ‘Sleeping Patterns’ by J.R.Crook through a beautiful review of it that I read. Then I read the author's fascinating interview and after reading that I decided that I had to read this book. At around a hundred pages, it was a slim book and I finished reading it in a day. Here is what I think. ‘Sleeping Patterns’ is an unusual book. It starts with a dedication to the memory of the author, implying that the author is dead. Then there is an introduction written by Annelie Strandli, who is one of the characters in the story. Annelie says in the introduction that she knew Jamie Crook (the author) quite well, which interestingly means that the author is also a part of the story. Annelie says in the introduction that she got the chapters of this book from Jamie one after the other and they arrived, apparently, in a random order which made sense to her only after she had read the complete book. The book starts with chapter 5 and then goes to chapter 1 and then to chapter 9 and then to chapter 11 and then continues in this vein. The story has multiple layers and sometimes characters jump across layers making the reader contemplate on which is the real story and which is the imagined one. The main story – well, before I finish this sentence, I should add a qualifier, a huge one, to that ‘main’. As the book has multiple layers, it is difficult to tell which is the main story and which are the supporting ones. It is all a matter of perspective and so it will differ from reader to reader. So, when I say ‘the main story’, I am meaning that it is the main story from my perspective. So, let me finish the sentence I started then. The main story is about a few people who live in an apartment complex. The main character is Berry Walker, an unambitious and unconventional man who lives a rich, dreamy internal life and who is also an aspiring writer. The other main character is Annelie Strandli, who has newly moved into the apartment complex. Then there are the other characters who live in the same building, the author Jamie Crook, Berry Walker’s friend Jack Fleeting and Annelie’s friends Catrina Bloodly and Molly Colour. Jamie Crook doesn’t seem to play a major part in the story but seems to watch events from a distance with the occasional interaction with one of the characters. Berry appears to like Annelie. Annelie is intrigued by Berry and wants to discover him through his writings. She manages to gain access to his room and finds printed papers hidden in his desk. She finds fragments of a novel there and starts reading it. The rest of the book is about how the story in that novel progresses and how the real life story of Berry and Annalie evolves. That is putting it simplistically.I have to say something about the layers in the book. There is the main story of Berry and Annalie. There is also the story in Berry’s novel that Annalie is reading. That novel is about the life of a character called Boy One. Then there is a dream that Boy One has and the events that happen in that dream. I could discover atleast these three layers in the story. It will be interesting to take a character and track him / her across these different layers. For our example, if we take Annelie as the character for study, I could discover this. She is one of the main characters in the main story. Then there is the book that she is reading. In that book Boy One has a dream. In that dream there is an ideal woman who appears to him. Then this ideal woman appears in his office in real life. And something makes me think that she is really like Annelie. And so we have this situation : There is a beautiful woman in Boy One’s dream – she appears in real life in Boy One’s work place – the woman who is reading Boy One’s story, Annelie, looks like the beautiful woman in his story – Annelie writes the introduction to the novel in which she is a part of, which makes Annelie a real person and so a part of our real world.The character of Annelie seems to jump through four different layers, the three layers of the story and then into real life. If we look at the character of Benny Walker more closely, we discover the same thing too, which leads to some interesting surprises. The author cleverly combines reality with imagination – the main story and with the-story-within-the-story and with the dream in this last story – and makes it all seem like a seamless web. The dividing lines between reality and imagination and dreams are clearly blurred. After some point we don’t know which is which. I found the random ordering of chapters quite interesting. Throughout most of the book, I kept looking at the present chapter number and then finding the chapter numbers closest to it out of the ones I had already read and trying to sequence the events in linear form. Sometimes this sequencing worked. At other times it didn’t work – for example, sometimes a later chapter was set during an earlier time period or sometimes consecutive chapters weren’t really connected. At some point I stopped thinking about chapter numbers and went on reading the story. But my experience of trying to find a linear narrative made me think. It made me think on whether we do this naturally – trying to order events chronologically or in some other way like in the ascending order of chapter numbers – or are we conditioned to think this way, to find a narrative in random scenes where none exists? It was an interesting thing to ponder, because at some point of time, the chapter numbers didn’t seem to matter to me. I have to say something about the physical aspects of the book too. The pages of the book were thick and smooth and soft (I love thick pages in books) and the cover was thick but had a soft, leathery touch. The font was big and beautiful. In terms of physical perfection, the book was up there on the top. So, it was a pleasure to touch the cover, flip through the pages and enjoy the look and feel of the book. I keep looking at a beautiful book like this and wonder how the Kindle will ever replace it. ‘Sleeping Patterns’ is an interesting and unusual book. For a first time writer, it is a wonderful book. It is a good ‘book club’ book as it will lead to many fascinating discussions. It is also an interesting book for literature enthusiasts who like Barthes, Derrida and the like. If you like reading experimental novels you will like ‘Sleeping Patterns’. After reading Andrew Blackman’s ‘On the Holloway Road’ and now J.R.Crook’s ‘Sleeping Patterns’, both of which are Luke Bitmead bursary winners and both of which I liked very much, I feel that I will like the other books which have won this award too. So, I want to read the other winners, Ruth Dugdall’s ‘The Woman Before Me’ and Sophie Duffy’s ‘The Generation Game’, next. I also can’t wait to find out what J.R.Crook comes up with next. I will leave you with some of my favourite lines from the book. The hallway she would reach on the seventh floor would be dimly lit and grey. She would walk along it and from underneath each of the closed doors she passed by, feel rushes of cold air on her bare ankles that would make her shiver. There was not so much as anything wrong with Boy One, rather his priorities were opposite to what is generally considered right. He was a dreamer. To him, it seemed as if the people he was surrounded by – his parents, his peers, the residents of the small town where he lived – all held the act of dreaming in little regard. They had all consigned dreaming to the small hours, to times of nocturnal abandon. They only dreamt in secluded places, in blanketed corners. They paid little, if any attention toward the theatre of the naked mind and preferred, upon daybreak, to forget their times spent wandering in the clouds. For Boy One however, the arena of sleep was wide, and the dreams it contained were without walls or recipe. He believed there to be no quilted nest, or daytime routine that could ever stop him from dreaming whenever he pleased. The difference between Boy One and his peers was that he always contested his alarm clock and allowed his dreaming to overflow into the daylight hours.…he discarded his finished cigarette and, as he moved back, blew his last stream of smoke towards the window. He observed how the smoke crashed against the glass, spread out like a wave and broke at the frame.Some of her best qualities were ones of childhood – of earthy sweetness, of smiles for simple things, of concerning herself without prejudice to small matters of empathy – as if she had somehow managed to smuggle them, without losing their potency, into her emerging adulthood.He was a self-saboteur, whose internal life was a party without noise or lights. Prescribing to himself certain medicines that made the spaces beyond it easier to neglect, he stayed mostly upon his bed and unconcerned with the surrounding tides. He was happy to spend whole days doing nothing but lying back and ambling about mazes of his own making. Have you read J.R.Crook’s ‘Sleeping Patterns’? What do you think about it?

  • Patrick Neylan
    2019-03-08 17:52

    "These fragments I have shored against my ruins..."Is Sleeping Patterns a work of abstract genius, or is the author too full of the cleverness of his ideas that he thinks he's above putting them into a coherent story? Has he carefully constructed a delicate yet beautiful puzzle - one that reveals itself to the patient reader like the first unravelling of a butterfly's wings - or has he simply tossed together the broken fragments of his notebooks, daring the reader to reveal himself as a Philistine for demanding a linear narrative? It would be unfair to write Sleeping Patterns off as pretentious twaddle, because the book is genuinely interesting and a lot of effort has gone into creating a carefully structured work. But Crook's ideas aren't clever enough and his prose is too pedestrian, and there's no great revelation about 'the human condition'. It's less a curate's egg and more a Kinder Egg: when it's unwrapped and unravelled, the toy inside is a disappointment. Still, you do get a bit of chocolate for your trouble. Being "abstract" and "nebulous" are not ends in themselves. Parts of Sleeping Patterns read like the work of a sophomore who has just discovered Joyce and thinks, "I can do that." Often it works; often it doesn't. The real problem that won't go away is the lack of beauty in the prose. At times it's fussily precise to the point of clunkiness, as in: "he did not know inside of which Grethe would be sitting"; at other times Crook uses the wrong word: mistaking "lain" and "laid" is one example among many. This kind of writing needs a mastery of English that Crook doesn't yet have.The denouement, the point, isn't the banal epiphany on page 72, but it still isn't profound. Ultimately, this book is promising but slight: its failing is not in being bad, but in falling short of its own ambitions. Nonetheless, the ending is satisfying and I would cautiously recommend it to readers who like adventurous writing. Crook will one day write a better book than this.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-24 23:05

    The latest winner of the Luke Bitmead Award, the prize I won myself back in 2008, Sleeping Patterns is an intelligent, intriguing and ultimately rewarding book.It’s experimental in nature. The author, J.R. Crook, stated in an interview with his publisher that “the most obvious influence on Sleeping Patterns was probably Roland Barthes’s (in)famous essay ‘The Death of the Author,’ together with the related thoughts of Foucault.” He also listed Sartre, Calvino, Joyce, Musil and Pessoa as influences.So you won’t be surprised when I tell you that Sleeping Patterns is a far from straightforward narrative. The games begin, in fact, in the dedication, “to the memory of the author”. The introduction is written by one of the characters in the book, Annelie Strandli, and she explains that J.R. Crook is dead and she’s put the book together out of 15 stories sent to her by post.In fact, J.R. Crook is alive and well – I saw him receive the prize and the large cheque for the Luke Bitmead Bursary last year, and chatted with him briefly afterwards. So the dedication is part of the fiction, and presumably a nod to the Barthes essay mentioned earlier. (If you’re interested, by the way, the essay is available online here. The point appears to be that the author is divorced from the text at the moment of its creation, and it becomes the property of readers. It is readers who create meaning in the text, and critics’ traditional role of seeking authorial intention is pointless.)The 15 stories were sent to Annelie out of order, and she’s preserved that order in the book, while numbering the chapters to show their “true” order. So we begin with chapter 5, then go to chapter 1, then chapter 11, and so on. The story, such as it is, tells of the strange relationship between Annelie and Berry Walker, a writer who lives in the same student residence in south London, as does Jamie Crook. Annelie tries to understand the enigmatic Berry by sneaking into his room and reading stories that he leaves in his desk drawer.The twist at the end is very clever and ties things together beautifully. I won’t divulge it here for those who are interested in reading the book, but it’s one of those good twists that throws a new light on what was really happening in the book while being completely credible. It’s unexpected, but when you read it you feel as if you should have expected it. It’s also, as you’d expect, tied up with the questions of authorship and interpretation of texts that so fascinate J.R. Crook (the real one, not the character in the book).Sleeping Patterns is a ‘minimalist’ book. Well, OK, it’s short. Just 108 pages, and that’s with some pretty generous white space. But the length feels about right for this book. The story of Berry and Annelie is not in itself particularly compelling, and the writing style creates a distance between the reader and the characters. At no point did I experience the illusion that I had really entered the world of the characters. It wasn’t that the characters were not believable or well-drawn; it was more that the disjointed narrative and the appearances of the author kept reminding me that I was reading a work of fiction. Because of this distance, I think the work might have failed to sustain my interest for 400 pages. As clever and well-constructed as the literary puzzle was, it was still a literary puzzle, and such things are best kept brief. 108 pages felt about right.Overall, I’d definitely recommend this as a good, thought-provoking read. Although it’s quite a complex book, and despite the somewhat heavy list of influences, it’s not a difficult read. It’s the kind of book where the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out. But you don’t need a PhD in cultural studies to enjoy it. It’s a book that speaks to the intellect rather than the emotions, and as such it will appeal to some but not others.

  • Thom
    2019-03-04 23:22

    In the 102 pages of his debut novel, JR Crook discusses the relationship between author, subject and reader, plays with narrative structures, explores multiple character viewpoints and the complexities of shared experience whilst retaining a lightness of touch and eschewing the sort of dense dogmatism which can plague literary fiction. Sleeping Patterns is at once stripped down and bursting with ideas; concepts influenced by Barthes and Foucault are incorporated into the text without the need for signposting or exposition. Crook is justifiably confident in his ability to introduce philosophical ideas whilst still creating brilliantly readable prose. Sleeping Patterns is presented as a series of found texts, which have been mailed to Annelie (Gretha) Strandli, in no discernable order. The chapters were written by one Jamie Crook, now deceased, who also plays a minor role in the narrative. Annelie herself, a student who has recently arrived in London from Finland, is the main subject of the novel, which focuses on her relationship with Berry Walker, a student and aspiring author. Berry is an insomniac, and reserved in conversation, but Annelie discovers more of his true character through his writings, which she finds hidden in his desk. These extracts in turn are incorporated into Jamie’s chapters.Throughout the novel, each character’s experiences are mediated through Jamie, and each remains to some extent unknowable; Annelie speaks partly in Finnish, throwing up a barrier between herself and reader, whilst Berry’s recollections are contradicted by others. The author/narrator is present, but at a distance to the reader; he is non-judgemental, a largely non-active agent in the text. His death ensures that he does not even structure his own book. There are shades of BS Johnson’s The Unfortunates in the apparently disordered narrative structure, and also of Italo Calvini’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. There are also references to Proust (Annelie is distracted by the recollection of her mother’s cooking, and burns her fingers on a cigarette), and probably a lot of other things which I’ve missed. There’s even a hint of The Rules of Attraction, as the student characters are concentrated together, and allowed to recount events through multiple perspectives, but without the crushing nihilism of Bret Easton Ellis’s writing.Overall, Sleeping Patters is a difficult novel to pin down, with no denouement or summing up. Motifs of locked rooms, dreams and sleeplessness recur, and the characters rub up against each other without ever really penetrating the surface. While this review has spoken a lot about theme, the style is really engaging too, with some beautiful writing. Readers will find themselves reminiscing over sections of the novel in the days after finishing it; in recollection it takes on a nostalgic, dream-like quality which is not always present in the text. Sleeping Patterns was published by Legend Press in connection with the Luke Bitmead Bursary, which provides support to unpublished novelists. It is easy to see why this novel stood out for the judges, and it will be interesting to find out how Crook’s career will develop, whether his style will sustain over larger word-counts, and where his experimentation will take him. Hopefully he can retain the subtlety and ingenuity of this novel without abandoning his taste for concept and theme.

  • Lindsay
    2019-03-18 16:09

    This a short work of just over a hundred pages and it is an unusual narrative of layered stories. The opening surprised me and heightened my interest - the novel is 'dedicated to the memory of the author'. Then we have an introduction by Annelie Strandli, know to her friends as Grethe, who is also a character in the book, alerting us to the fact that the story we are about to read consists of fifteen elements of a tale by the writer. Berry Walker is a withdrawn and introverted insomniac and an aspiring writer who Annelie lives with (amongst others) in a student residence. She hopes to discover more about him through his writings. Within the elements of the story that describe Annelie's narrative, there is another layer recounting the story of a boy, Boy One, a dreamer, and the story explores the notion of dreaming, not just whilst asleep but whilst awake; 'he allowed his dreaming to overflow into the daylight hours.' I enjoyed this book, in fact I think I was a little unsure whether at first I would like it, and it pleasantly surprised me; it offered me something different and I felt the way it was written made me sit up and pay attention. I discovered that the fifteen chapters or pieces of the story are numbered non-sequentially; first I read 5, then 1, then 11. I was intrigued, and tempted to rearrange them and read them from 1 to 15 as per usual, but I resisted and read the book as it was presented to me. It made me think and re-evaluate what I expected from a work of fiction, after all, the author is named in the book, so is this entirely fiction? How does the relationship between the reader and the writer and the story work? I could imagine readers having varied reactions to this novel and therefore sharing an interesting discussion about it.There are some lovely passages; one in particular I liked was this, describing Annelie's curiosity about the Berry as she anticipates uncovering his writing: 'She would be hoping that small fictions and understated truths were there for her to find. She would be fancying the image of the writer's hands, like those of an illusionist's, revealing to her all manner of things invisible before.'For me this is the work of an inventive and talented writer who has taken a chance and is unafraid to challenge the reader's expectations with the unconventional style and structure of his storytelling here. As I've said, it was quite different from a lot of what I read and I liked the challenge and uniqueness of it. I think I'd like to read it again one day and see what else I discover, and the short length of the book encourages me to do this as does the attractiveness of the edition.I would certainly try more fiction by this author and after reading this book I would be interested to see what approach he takes to his future works.

  • MisterHobgoblin
    2019-03-03 20:55

    I really didn't get on with Sleeping Patterns.The story ostensibly follows various students around their hall of residence whilst they sort out their love lives. Plus there is a manuscript that one of the students leaves in his desk drawer and is found by some of the other students. The story is chopped up into fifteen sections and told out of sequence.This is an elaborate structure that is sometimes used to hide the absence of a real story - it is like having a Profundity Wizard built into a word processor. When Alasdair Gray did it with Lanark, he admitted it was to create something of value from two novels that did not work. Sadly, JR Crook is no Alasdair Gray, because in Sleeping Patterns there isn't even much value in the chunks. They are too short, too choppy. The characters are indistinguishable and have no personality - making it difficult to relate to them in any sense. They are really just words on a page - some of which are written in Finnish. Did we really need lines and lines of Finnish?The interspersed manuscript pages are supposed to be some kind of novel, but with characters called Boy One, Boy Two and Old Man, wittering on about the philosophy of love, it is difficult to see it as a credible manuscript. It has no story, no breadth and no length.Even the descriptive passages - often the high point of short works - feel leaden, overladen with long words and obscurity for its own sake.There is supposed to be some kind of message buried in all the fragments - that love does not exist until its existence is shared - hence an idea does not exist unless it is shared; a novel doesn't exist until it is read. Whatever you may think of the message (I disagree with it), it is scant reward for trying to follow this tedious, pretentious ramble.

  • Allie Cresswell
    2019-03-13 20:53

    A book within a book within a book. This novel is best described as three concentric circles of narrative about a compulsion to read a story in order to discover and understand its writer. The characters, along with the reader, are pulled into the maelstrom, intrigued, a little furtive, stealing into rooms temporarily empty of their tenants, prying into papers left unattended, trying to make sense of odd behaviours witnessed at a party and snatches of conversation heard along the hallway. Shifting like a kaleidoscope, this story defies conventions by its achronology and shifting narrative voices. A minimum of description leaves the settings shadowy and uncertain; it was unclear, for a time, which city the characters inhabited. Likewise the narrators' carefully veiled motivations muddy the waters of intention, their relationships are casual and tangential. But like a jigsaw, a whole emerges from the constituent parts which satisfies.On a slightly negative note, I did find some of the phrasing and word-choices created a somewhat staccato effect which inhibited the smooth flow of language, as though the work was a translation, or had perhaps been written in a language which was not his mother tongue. I was sorry to be reading the book on my Kindle as opposed to in hard copy, as the flicking backwards and forwards in the text to make all the connections was very laborious. Nevertheless, an intriguing and interesting read.

  • Ben
    2019-02-27 23:20

    Sleeping PatternsJR Crook (Author)Sleeping Patterns is one of those books that pack a lot into its small number of pages. It is a novel about friendship, about mystery, about travel, about life, about writing, about fiction, and the lies that paper over the cracks of what we think, feel and believe about other people. Annelie, a designer, originally from Finland finds herself in South London, where she meets Berry Walker, a withdrawn writer who lives in the same rundown block of student flats. Berry is a writer, and his stories that are left for Annelie in seeming random order is one of the many strands in this compellingly written book.It is not the easiest of reads, and my take more than one reading for the whole sense of the book to sink into the reader, but it rewards that effort. The fact that the novel is award winning is no real surprise, and there is a lot here for a reading group to discuss.

  • Simon
    2019-03-18 22:59

    An interesting book with an interesting structure that comes together nicely in the end. I give it 5 stars if only for its ambition, particularly since it's a debut novel. This book is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea, there will be those who hate it, but I'm not one of them. I liked it. It's a very short book but there's a lot going on, lots of layers, and a good effort has been made to try something a little different, which is a rare thing these days and I think that should be encouraged.

  • Ellie Rose McKee
    2019-03-25 22:18

    It is hard for me to either rate or review this book, for I feel that reading it once through in the order which it has been presented (as I have done) isn't enough. I feel the need to ponder on it longer, to re-read it again in its presented order, and then again in it's 'proper' order. Even then though, I think, it will still keep secrets away from me. I think this work of many layers is not one that will leave me quickly, if at all.

  • Davida Chazan
    2019-03-05 22:18

    Have we found another Ondaatje? J.R. Crook's debut novel might just remind you of his style, but is ultimately unique. The brevity of the book does nothing if not emphasize the power of the prose and impact of its meaning. You can read my review here

  • Anette
    2019-03-12 18:11

  • Emily
    2019-03-25 18:15

    Although not the best of books I've ever read I did enjoy the ideas of author/reader & life/love vs death. Interesting read.

  • Peter C
    2019-03-20 23:06

    Didnt get into this at all. Best read in one go I think, rather than in spurts on the train.