Inspired sleep : a novel / Robert Cohen.
Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 December 2000
Bonnie Saks, divorced with two sons, a filmmaker ex-husband off in South America, an unfinished dissertation the point of which she has lost, an unsatisfactory job, and an unwanted pregnancy, finds her most debilitating problem to be an insurmountable case of insomnia. Her story is paralleled by that of Ian Ogelvie, a hapless sleep researcher. Is there ever any doubt that she will become a participant in his study? The results of a good night's sleep are phenomenal. Some sort of focused calm within a dreamlike serenity replaces her twitchy neurotic state. Ian struggles to comprehend the realities of big-money drug studies and the politics of research, while Bonnie worries about what will happen when she runs out of blue pills. Insomniacs, philanderers, charlatans, self-serving researchers, and unfinished scholars and their like inhabit the bizarre and unsettling world created here. The tightly honed writing displays a wry humor and skewed point of view in a novel that is sharply amusing but manages nonetheless to compel readers to assess their own life view. --Danise Hoover Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
LJ Reviews 2000 September #1
Abandoned by her husband and facing an unfinished dissertation, insomniac Bonnie Saks signs up for a questionable sleep-study program in this third novel from a prize-winning author. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2000 December #1
Bonnie Saks is awash in misery. At 39, she is the single mother of two young sons, one of whom is on Prozac. She is "all but dissertation" and has been for years, she's bored teaching college English in the Boston area, and she's pregnant by a long-gone lover. And for the life of her, she is no longer able to sleep. Stopping just short of toppling over the edge, Bonnie signs up for a blind study involving an experimental drug that is officially intended to alleviate motion sickness but unofficially shows promise as a "harmless" sleeping potion. Thus does Cohen plunge his readers into the smarty-pants, angst-dripping, ego-clashing worlds of drug research, big business, and academia. Though his characters are deeply flawed and often unlikable, one keeps turning the pages in the hope of finding that someone will manage to crawl out of the wreckage of their lives relatively unscathed. Larger libraries will want to consider this for fans of Joseph Heller or the film American Beauty. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/00.] Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
PW Reviews 2000 October #5
Intelligent, funny, energetically characterized and provocative about some timely issues, Cohen's second novel (after The Here and Now) would be a perfect read except for his tendency to overload the narrative with scenes that go on too long and his need to chart every nuance of his major characters' self-destruction. Bonnie Saks is a contemporary everywoman: at 39, she's divorced and raising two nice kids, albeit with meager resources, while teaching expository writing and trying to finish her dissertation. Smart, witty (she exudes "a penumbra of irony") and a fond (if impatient) mother scenes with her sons are especially good Bonnie is an engaging, if sometimes irritatingly mercurial, character. After she discovers she's pregnant by a man she despises and decides against abortion, Bonnie's chronic insomnia becomes acute sleep deprivation. In a series of cleverly handled developments, she comes into the orbit of Ian Ogelvie, a brilliant but lonely, shy and nerdy sleep researcher at a Boston hospital, who is engaging in experiments with a new drug that may cure sleep disorders. As the reader soon learns, Ian is the only honest, innocent member of the research team; everyone else involved is unscrupulous and self-serving. Cohen is at his best here, sketching the sub-rosa ties between academic research, pharmaceutical companies, managed care and the business world with exuberant satire. Unaware of the general chicanery, Ian enlists Bonnie in the program, with disastrous results. Cohen's text often zings true with riffs on contemporary life, and, despite a few longueurs, he succeeds in intertwining vibrant secondary characters and several plot lines into a suspenseful narrative. This will be a word-of-mouth book among discriminating readers. (Jan. 8) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.