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The Sleeping Father

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  355 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
The Sleeping Father begins with a divorced dad who inadvertently combines two incompatible anti-depressant medications, goes into a coma, has a stroke, and emerges with brain damage. His teenage son—the protagonist of the book, Chris—and his teenage daughter—Cathy—inherit money from their grandfather and decide to rehabilitate him on their own. decide to make one.
Absent an
Paperback, 200 pages
Published September 26th 2003 by Soft Skull Press
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
May 01, 2012 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I discovered Matthew Sharpe, one of many underappreciated novelists swirling around a sea of undue obscurity, through Krok's DFW-comparison-raising review of You Were Wrong. Based on my trust of Krok's taste in the fine arts and my largely reflexive adherence to DFW-comparisons, I had to check it out. I quickly purchased You Were Wrong and devoured it one night while getting pretty tanked and jacked up on Irish whiskey infused coffee. Soon after this doubly intoxicating experience, I purchased t ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Anastasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2011
Questo libro è stato come un immergere il proprio dito nell'acqua fredda dopo una scottatura.

La scottatura era Girls di Kelman, per cui avevo espresso il desiderio di tornare nel grembo di un libro completamente innocente e ingenuo. Ora, io ho ispezionato la mia libreria, ma non ho trovato libri innocenti e ingenui. E fra i libri della biblioteca ancora da leggere avevo solo Dennis Lehane (che è tutto, tranne che innocente e ingenuo), James Ellroy (mai letto, ma non mi sa di aria bambinesca), e
Kate Gould
Feb 18, 2010 Kate Gould rated it really liked it
After accidentally combining antidepressants, Bernie Schwartz lapses into a coma, waking to discover he has severe brain damage and is no longer able to speak or think coherently. His son, Chris – alternately adoring and abusing his neurologist – devises a rehabilitative regime founded almost entirely on misinformation, while his daughter, Cathy, attempts to channel her newfound Catholic fervour into her father’s recovery.

The meat of Sharpe’s narrative isn’t exactly joyful, yet it is observed a
Krok Zero
Oct 05, 2010 Krok Zero rated it liked it
Shelves: fall-2010
Dammit, Matthew Sharpe. I was all ready to claim you as the genius that only I knew about, based on the awesomeness of You Were Wrong. Alas, this novel is merely decent. It's written in a somewhat more timid version of the newer book's flavor-crystal-explosion prose style, and it is just kind of a basic family novel with not much original going on, and it is oppressively quirky at times. But, enough good writing to keep me engaged.
Mar 22, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
"Chris took Frank's excellent point and did a kind of uptight middle-class suburban Jewish version of letting it all go, which to the casual observer might resemble not letting any of it go." - p. 18

"How come Chris didn't get to become anything? Why did he have to go on being Chris until death rent him asunder from himself?" - p. 34

"You're so lovely, but I can't remember if your name is Lila or Layla."
"That all depends."
"On what?"
"On whether I'm having sex with someone or having sex with myself
Raquel Dias da Silva
Nov 24, 2012 Raquel Dias da Silva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Raquel by: a friend
Shelves: favorites
O pai de Chris e Cathy juntou acidentalmente dois tipos incompatíveis de antidepressivos e os jovens irmãos são obrigados a lidar com a situação imprevista e dramática, cada um à sua maneira. Com o pai em coma são obrigados a agir como adultos e a interagir com uma neurologista reprimida e uma terapeuta ninfomaníaca, assim como com um adolescente de inteligência intimidante e uma mãe desnaturada e que vive longe.
A relação pai-filho é uma relação intrínseca, muito biológica, uma vez que existe um
Nov 09, 2008 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008-09
I have mixed feelings about The Sleeping Father. On the one hand, the characters were creative and well developed, the plot was deep and relatively interesting, and the irony was symbolic, to say the least.
Cathy, a Jewish/Catholic good girl/pregnant teen, and her brother Chris, an obnoxious, sarcastic misogynist, were entertaining, but I didn't feel any connection to them. I didn't pity them or really care what they were doing. I found Chris' interactions with most other characters completely
Heidi Mckye
May 07, 2008 Heidi Mckye rated it really liked it
Um so I need to write a love letter to Mathew Sharpe that reads Dear Mathew Sharpe, I have fallen deeply and truly in love with the contents of your head. Or rather, I've fallen for the quality no, system no, agent which organizes those contents into beautiful and sprawling sentences. And truly, I believe no one else might understand you/your head agent as I do, unless it's Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, Al Roker (especially him), Gene Shalit and who so ever else be part of the Today Sh ...more
May 27, 2011 Tânia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, pt
Bernard Schwartz is divorced, depressed, and due to the accidental mixture of Prozac with another different antidepressant, in a coma. He later awakes with brain damage, diminishing his ability to think or speak coherently. He is the father of a self-absorbed, sarcastic son, Chris, and a jewish daughter, Cathy, turned to the catholic religion in an attempt to find the meaning of life. Their mom is away in California, living the dream that does not include a family.

This book was hilarious and fu
Feb 01, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
I remember the characters in this book making some decisions that I felt like I couldn't understand, or would never make, but I think what works about that is that it's pretty accurate to the way things work in real life; often I feel perplexed by people's choices, and mostly, even if I ask and get an answer about why someone did what they did, I eventually have to just accept that individuals are mysterious and unpredictable and we don't always get to know what makes someone else tick. Interest ...more
David Jaguttis
Jun 21, 2015 David Jaguttis rated it really liked it
This was good. The constant ironic events throughout are pretty improbable, but everything is done with enough humor that it all works.
Tom Mayer
Nov 23, 2007 Tom Mayer rated it liked it
A clever, absurdist family portrait catalyzed by a father's stroke. The book begins in familiar territory -- a relatively well-off Connecticut familly, divorced, kids self absorbed, mom in California -- until the father mixes anti-depressants and has a stroke, thrusting the kids into adulthood far too early, and launching a series of painful convulsions between brother and sister, between brother and friend, and sister and friend, and mother and father, and son and doctor, and mother and doctors ...more
Did not care for. No closure at the ending. Not a believable story line.
James Deignan
Sep 16, 2013 James Deignan rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one. I usually can't find the right words to express myself, and when I do, I sometimes get the impression of being completely and irrevocably misapprehended... and that's what this book is all about. In The Sleeping Father, language and meaning rarely coincide for the Schwartz family, and it's funny and sad and interesting as hell. Plus, the author is moving in across the street from me, so I got the book at a massive discount! Summer reading was never so enjoyable. I can't ...more
Heather H
Feb 20, 2016 Heather H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: long-ago-reads
A book that's made me physically laugh out loud. Rare
Jan 19, 2008 Marlo rated it really liked it
Divorced, depressed Bernard Schwartz is taking Prozac, but the accidental ingestion of another antidepressant lands him in a coma. His adolescent children, the conflicted Chris, and the serious Cathy, must muddle through their father's helplessness in this character-driven tale. In one of the novel's best scenes, Chris, devastated but true to his trademark hostile sense of humor, adorns his unconscious father's face with drawn-on "make-up," which includes rosy cheeks and a Hitler mustache. Compl ...more
Margherita Dolcevita
A me è piaciuto moltissimo. Riesce a raccontare una famiglia disastratissima in modo simpatico, le riflessioni sono tutte venate da un'onnipresente vena di humour nero, alcune scene poi sono esilaranti, così come certi scambi di battute. I personaggi sono uno più strambo dell'altro, all'inizio, ma poi ci si abitua come se fossero all'ordine del giorno. Pungente, amaro e ironico, davvero consigliato. Paragoni con l'a detta di tutti simile "Le correzioni" di Franzen non ne posso fare, ma questo me ...more
Jun 28, 2008 Jason rated it liked it
The characters are brilliantly unique and well developed, with the author paying particular interest to recreating what such extraordinarily bright teenagers would say and think if they were being truly honest with themselves. Not a terribly uplifting book but it does make the reader think about what life might be like living with a mostly incapacitated father as his two children must quickly switch places and be the heads of the house/ teachers/ organizers.
Feb 29, 2008 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
many, many times in this book, i rolled my eyes at the complete implausibility of plot points and ridiculous dialogue, a la wes anderson in print. but there were strong moments of truth and i laughed out loud a few times and am now happy i read it. in the vein of catcher in the rye, portnoy's complaint, heartbreaking work of staggering genius and a rash of films (heartbreak kid, chumscrubber, thumbsucker, rocket science).
Apr 29, 2008 Rita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
This book was hilarious and heart-wrenching. The constant sarcasm that permeates the book is owned by no one voice, but collectively by everyone. Which makes it the novice book that it is. But, there were parts (the dodge-ball chapter for example) that I will remember until my dying day. If you like over-the-top sarcasm and black humor, then this will be a feast for you.
Jun 26, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
After reading an interview with Sharpe in Glimmer Train Stories literary journal I searched out this novel. The troubled quirky family, as others have noted, seems a literary cliche at this point, but Sharpe manages to keep this story fresh and noteworthy in the rich characterization and the psychological explorations.
Jan 06, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
i liked this story, a bunch of narcissistic characters trying to deal with tragedy, accidents, family, love, and growing up too fast. matthew sharpe has a clever mind and a quick wit, most of which materialized through chris's character. a little depressing, but enjoyable over all.
Dec 20, 2012 Kezia rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy this book, it started out mildly interesting but the frankly ridiculous dialogue got on my nerves very soon. I finished it, hoping it would get better, but the characters and events are absurd and implausible.
Jun 27, 2008 Miranda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
This was one of my favorite books I've read in a long, long while. Shakespeare would be proud of the true "comedy" nature of this tale of teenage angst and learning how to maneuver in a world that is not so friendly.
Apr 11, 2007 Alvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a family
Normally I hate books with a tight focus on family life, but this book is so insightful and funny and human that it overcame my prejudices and won me over immediately. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Nic Stringer
Feb 10, 2008 Nic Stringer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a sense of Humour
Funny, satirical and accurate, a well written book that manages to focus on the domestic without turning into an American Sitcom, you will laugh you will cry and you will enjoy.
Dec 21, 2008 Theresa rated it liked it
Wasn't my favorite of the Today Show book club books, but it was a very well written book. An interesting, brutally honest look at the life of this family.
May 07, 2009 Katie rated it liked it
The cleverness that bugged me a little in Jamestown was even more prevalent here, but still the characters were so real and compelling. Sharpe is good.
Big Momma
Oct 01, 2012 Big Momma rated it liked it
I enjoyed the writing style, the story & characters etc, but it seemed that the end was a little underwhelming! pity :(
Sue Kozlowski
Jul 31, 2013 Sue Kozlowski rated it it was ok
Weird book. Bernard mixes Prozac and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and goes into a coma. His son Chris takes care of him.
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Matthew Sharpe (born 1962) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Born in New York City, but grew up in a small town in Connecticut. Sharpe graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio. Afterwards, he worked at US Magazine until he went back to school at Columbia University, where he pursued an MFA. Since then, he has been teaching creative writing at various institutions including Columbia Universi ...more
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