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The Somnambulist's Dreams

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  60 reviews
A lighthouse keeper on the coast of New England discovers a small collection of seemingly deranged writings that have been left behind by his somnambulant predecessor. When he begins to read them, he swiftly becomes an unwitting participant in a nebulous narrative that not only defies time and space, but brings into question his own sanity.
Paperback, 181 pages
Published August 23rd 2016 by Angry Owl Publishing
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3.91  · 
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 ·  91 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
”’Time is never waiting,’ the raven said.’It’s script-less and senseless. It’s never hanging around for anyone to catch up. You are dancing an eternal waltz to the sound of your own beating heart. When the music stops, time has already moved on.’”

Being a lighthouse keeper is a lonely job. A job that is very similar in many ways to being a fire lookout in a National Forest. Edward Abbey did that job for a few seasons, mainly because he couldn’t hold down a real job and wanted time to write.

I can
Jim Fonseca
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-authors
A lighthouse keeper on the coast of Maine in the 1800’s finds a cache of letters from a previous keeper. In these writings, the man recorded his strange dreams; dreams that were so real he felt he was living or re-living or (since most are in the future) anticipating someone else’s life.


And what dreams these are! He has a penchant for getting involved with celebrities: David Bowie’s Major Tom appears and Renee Magritte (ceci n’est pas une pipe). He has sex with Sigourney Weaver on the set of Al
Larry H
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Wow, this book was one crazy ride!!

How crazy have your dreams gotten? I'm not one of those who tries to figure out what my dreams mean, but I have wondered if it's appropriate to get mad at a person for doing something to you in your dreams. (I told a friend I was angry with them for borrowing my car and then parking it in my refrigerator. This is why I don't try to interpret my dreams.)

"I have finally decided to write to you about my dreams, and trust that you will recognize and know the true m
Kevin Kelsey
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Posted at Heradas Review

There is something tragically romantic about lighthouses: The structures themselves stand watchful and solitary, a beacon of warning and assistance to those at sea. The broad scope of protection proffered by one individual toward so many others. It makes the profession of lighthouse keeper appear selfless, but in my mind it’s more symbiotic than that. I imagine a lighthouse keeper as someone who strives to be useful, but requires isolation the way others require companion
Pouting Always
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lighthouse keeper reads through a series of letters he has come upon. The letters are written by his predecessor, who addresses his wife, and tells her of the strange dreams he has while sleep walking. The letters hint at the uncertainty of where reality ends and the dreams begin as well as the lingering question of the lighthouse keeper's, Enoch's, sanity. I really like ambiguity in writing so the story really appealed to me and I really loved the way it ended. I also did enjoy the allusions ...more
Brilliant! I loved it! And I want to read it again...NOW!

The Somnambulist's Dreams tells the story of a lighthouse keeper, who goes through the daily monotony of keeping the lighthouse. During his time, he comes across the papers of the previous lighthouse keeper, who noted his dreams in great detail. You can say he becomes consumed by these stories. The stories seem so real to him and he analyzes them and moves onto the next. Perhaps at times, questioning his own sanity. The details on the pape
Amalia Gavea
* Disclaimer-The fact that Lars is one of my friends in Goodreads has nothing to do with my opinion of the book. I was interested in The Somnambulist's Dreams before Lars' invitation. Every opinion and comment is entirely my own.*

''There was no denying it was lonesome.''

Few situations in life are lonelier than living in a lighthouse. How quiet it must be when the only thing you hear is the sound of the waves. How dark and frightening when a storm is raging and the human being is but an insigni
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wondrous concoction that's got a razor sharp metaphysical edge--exactly the type I'd been craving for quite a while--and it soon becomes much too hard to resist. What type of dream will the lighthouse keeper find himself in next? With a narrative that vacillates between dream world and... another type of world, we find a dynamic type of plot that attains something substantial while dealing with the most intangible, immaterial objects found in this world: dreams.
Glenn Russell
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing

The Somnambulist’s Dreams by Lars Boye Jerlach is a unique lyrical odyssey, a tale at the intersection of existentialism, magical realism and postmodern minimalism, a saga of a lighthouse keeper in his isolation living through dream sequences as he reads and ponders entries written by one Enoch S. Soule to his wife Emily, entries with such titles as Kenya, The Antarctic, The Cemetery, The Musician, The Well, The Chess Player, The Actress, The Taxidermist, The Cell. Reading Jerlach's short novel
Elyse Walters
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"He wondered if the habitual pattern of his daily activities was the only thing that gave
meaning to his life"
I really loved the above excerpt in "The Somnambulist's Dreams". It's a very honest inquiry.
This entire book is ingenious and mesmerizing. ....but Oh MY FRICKEN CRACKERS.....
I'm going to go nuts if I try to write a perfect review- an intellectual review... because I just want to let go and tell you what I really REALLY THINK....
I have some fear in just streaming my thoughts and feelings
Miriam Smith
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kept-book, signed
First, I must say how much I loved the striking artistry on the cover of "The Somnambulist's Dreams" written by Lars Boye Jerlach. Truly artful!
This is a very clever and thought provoking book, I'm not sure which genre it fits into but it does have metaphysical/supernatural content.
This wondrous story is told through a lonely lighthouse keeper who finds a parcel of papers written by the previous keeper Enoch Soule during his mundane regular routines. The papers recount the enigmatic dreams Eno
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Somnambulist’s Dreams by Lars Boye Jerlach is a 2016 Angry Owl publishing publication.

I read the synopsis of this book, which adequately sets the stage and entices the reader to play along, but it didn't truly prepare me for the experience or the journey I was about to embark on.

Lighthouses are fascinating to me. As they stand tall and regal against the isolated, lonely waves, the backdrop tempts the imagination and is the source of countless works of art, sketches and coffee table books,
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Apocalyptic for the 21st Century

I spent several years of my young adult life serving on what were then called Ocean Stations in the mid-North Atlantic. Bouncing around on small ships which were meant to act as electronic beacons, floating lighthouses really, for overflying aircraft, we spent four or five weeks every two months at sea. The only way to stay sane, for many of us, was to bring a library of books and music along on each patrol. So Jerlach's setting in Somnabulist's Dreams of an isola
Dan Schwent
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books, 2018
A lighthouse keeper finds the deranged writings of his predecessor, of dreams spanning time and space...

I never would have picked this up if my wife hadn't commandeered the kindle to read Anne of Green Gables. On that fateful day, Lars Boye Jerlach happened to email me, asking if I was interested in reading print copies of his books. Needless to say, I took the plunge.

The Somnabulist's Dreams is a tough animal to pin down. It reminded me of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle a bit, even before Toru was
Having read several of my Goodreads friends glowing reviews, I was looking forward to reading this novel. I certainly wasn't disappointed; it was even better than I anticipated. Quite stunning actually. The writing was superb, the idea and concept of the story is so unique that I was hooked right from the start. The remarkable stories (dreams) are so different, yet connected. I couldn't help but be reminded of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, and that's a compliment.

5 stars
Manuel Antão
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

The Stars Look Different Today: “The Somnambulist's Dreams” by Lars Jerlach

“’So what is it Enoch Soule? Why are you here? What are you here to tell me?’
‘I know why you’re here,’ he [the chess player] said.”

In “The Somnambulist's Dreams” by Lars Jerlach

2018’s been my year of reading some fundamental books on Physics. At least they are what some of my friends call Fundamental Books on Physics. After having read a bunch of them, some a
Janie C.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this novel yesterday, and I have been lost in its pages ever since.  This book is transcendent.  The writing is mellifluous in tone and extraordinary in content.  It is a book of dreams that have no reason to exist given the time in which the dreamer sleeps.  The past and the future are non-existent, and each account occurs in the here and now.  A lighthouse keeper finds pages of a journal recounting the enigmatic dreams of his predecessor.  As he goes about his routines throughout t ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
“Do you have a particular liking for the paradoxical?” (c)

Human psyche is deeper than could be reasonably expected. Archetypic symbols are investigated in here. Poe-inspired investigation of themes of death in multiple settings where death is referred to as 'ceasing to exist':
It is my apprehensive hypothesis, that I am merely a repository for something infinitely more complex than I can fathom. (c)
“You are ceasing to exist.” ... “Aren’t we all?” (c)

The all-encompassing vastness of nature:
Michael Finocchiaro
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lars Boye Jerlach generously proposed exchanging his book for mine and subsequent reviews. I read The Somnabulist's Dreams in one sitting. It is a fascinating tale, sort of like one by Italo Calvino in its intricate weaving of dreams and reality. It has some wonderful descriptions and an intriguing premise about how one guards his/her sanity in a monotonous job as such of a lighthouse keeper as the protagonist of his novel. I found the use of description and the repetition of images (the raven, ...more
mark monday

I was staying at the aptly-named Gaylord Hotel for a week-long conference in freezing mid-December. What a nightmare! This hotel is like a small city; indeed, in the center of it is a mock village. 'Twas the season, and so this lil' village within a hotel was also done up in holiday fanfare. In front of the village was a stage set for the regularly recurring Cirque du Christmas spectacular. Above the village was a similarly recurring light and sound show illustrating a timeless Xm
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lovely novella, suited for reading in a couple of sittings. A lonesome lighthouse keeper sometime in the early 20th century goes through the rituals of tending the equipment, keeping warm, and preparing tea and crude meals. Watching the rocks and pounding sea, he often finds himself “utterly lost in the immensity before him.” He finds a journal of dreams written by the former lighthouse keeper, Enoch, which our narrator reads in snatches and which transport his mind into philosophical reveries ...more
Thomas Strömquist
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-collection
When fellow Scandinavian and name-fellow Lars offered me a copy of his first book, The Somnambulist's Dreams I hesitated only slightly - I'm always a bit reluctant to read and review someone I have social contact with (or know even). In the past, this has gone both ways, actually, but I must say that most experiences have been very positive, and so odds say 'go for it'. And the synopsis for this one sounded intriguing enough!

I read the book more or less in one sitting - just changing from train
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the most original and unique books I've read this summer, a captivating, thrilling work heavily immersed in dreams, philosophy and fantasy. In just a short length of a novel, the author paints a vivid, riveting portrait of a lonely lighthouse keeper engrossed in the ramblings left behind from another who came before him. Do these writings mean something special and important, or are they just the insane thoughts of an isolated man? Telling his story to a childhood friend ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
"There was no denying it was lonesome." – Lars Boye Jerlach

This first line offers an innocuous glimpse into the emotional state of a lighthouse keeper in a watch tower off the coast of Maine on a very cold night. That he should feel lonesome is not surprising given the solitary nature of his job but there is more than meets the eye. It is the deepest kind of lonesomeness borne of being estranged from oneself. The lighthouse keeper finds a package of letters ostensibly written by Enoch Soule, th
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story about a lighthouse keeper finding a pile of letters his predecessor wrote, and through them being sucked into the surreal dream-world of this colleague he has never met, seemed like a fascinating premise. And although it didn't disappoint me - and I have thought this about a lot of books lately - it didn't quite live up to my expectations either. It was good, but could have been better. Am I a picky reader? Probably.

First, let me tell you what I did like: I liked the themes of madness
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is Neil Gaiman dreaming of Alice in Wonderland. It is a metaphysical beauty.
The story is of an unnamed lighthouse keeper who spends a single night reading a group of letters apparently left from a previous keeper named Enoch Soule. Soule has written 12 letters about his dreams. Each chapter contains one of the mysterious letters followed by the reflections of the reader and his boring night of winding the mechanism that keeps the light turning, making tea and eating the same thing nigh
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lighthouse keeper off the coast of New England finds the writings of a previous lighthouse keeper by the name of Enoch Soule. The writings are about the vivid dreams Enoch experienced while he was the lighthouse keeper. It appears that not only did Enoch remember absolutely everything about his dreams, he found himself in strange places in the lighthouse in various stages of undress upon waking from his dreams. He began to write down his dreams and the reader learns that he is not always human ...more
Book Wyrm
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Interesting concept, weird execution, some odd choices and an ambiguous ending.
The Somnambulist's Dreams has some simularities to The House of Leaves, with the book broken in to two narratives: an odd text, and its reader. Like Leaves, the weird text is inventive, strange and much better than the reader's story but, unlike Leaves, the reader's story actually had a point and wasn't peppered with incompetent sex scenes. The reader's segments are the weakest part, feeling too long, repetitive or d
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’d like to thank Lars Boye Jerlach for the opportunity to read his exemplary novel in exchange for an unbiased review, and I already sound biased don’t I? I was sucked into this world of dreams, interpreting each one along with our somnambulist and an unnamed lighthouse keeper. I was as taken by the constant repetitive actions of that man as I was by the journalist. And then what I considered the highlight of the book-a David Bowie reference. I about peed myself. So many cultural references wer ...more
Emm - One Thousand Years of Books
Metaphysical mind-trip that breaks the walls dividing memory and dream, lucidity and insanity.
A unique debut about a lighthouse keeper who finds the strange diary of his predecessor, who as it turns out was a sleepwalker with oddly foretelling dreams. Or at least, this is the tale as it appears to our eyes...

The constant changing of shape and time is a heavy motif throughout. Via his dreams, the somnambulist Enoch Soule, finds himself transported to the past and future, from human form to animal
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Lars Boye Jerlach was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and has worked as an artist and professor of art for more than fifteen years.

After the last couple of decades traveling in Europe, the US and the Pacific, he now resides in Portland, Maine with his wife the British artist/ designer Helen Stringfellow and their three young daughters.