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Death, Sleep & the Traveler: Novel
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Death, Sleep & the Traveler: Novel

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  158 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The author of seven full-length novels, several plays, and numerous short fictions, John Hawkes over the course of two and a half decades has won international acclaim. His most recent novel, Death, Sleep & The Traveler is about a middle-aged Dutchman, his dissolving marriage, his involvement in two sexual triangles, his obsession with the murder he is accused of havin ...more
Paperback, 179 pages
Published January 17th 1975 by New Directions (first published 1974)
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Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Do you find this picture a little creepy?

If you don't, why not?

If I had an Icky-Sex shelf like Karen does, I'd put this book on it. Sort of for the same reason I find the picture above incredibly icky.

The strength of the writing is evident for the two Hawkes books I've read so far, because the 'intimate' scenes in both books were almost nausea inducing. And it wasn't like VC Andrews Flowers in the Attic icky sex, where it just sort of happens once near the end of the book. No, in this book (an
Nate D
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: a shape alone on a sprawling ship-deck, a ship alone on an ocean
Recommended to Nate D by: Eric Basso / Book Thug Nation
We spend most of our lives attempting in small ways to know someone else. And we hope that someone else will care to peek into our darkest corners, without shock or condemnation. We even hope to catch a glimpse of ourselves, and in this furtive pursuit, we hope for courage. But on the brink of success, precisely when a moment of understanding seems nearest at hand, and even if thew moment is a small thing and not particularly consequential, it is then that that the eyes close, the head turns awa
Jamie Grefe
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Second time read: gorgeous writing. At one point I found myself just slowly savoring EVERY sentence on the page.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to aya by: anna p
This book really reminded me of Alain Robbe-Grilet's The Voyeur, which I love-- there are similarities in tone, subject matter, and the geometric structures. I kind of wish i hadn't thought of the similarities while I was reading it, because it made me compare the two books, and this one did not hold up under the weight of comparison.
There was so much I loved in this book--some really amazing sentences, and at times it is so beautiful and natural in its structure. Which is what made the bad eve
Philip Bardach
Sep 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is really bad and hilarious. Obviously, it was not meant to be. Also, very much a product of its time, and not in the good way. While reviewed favourably, somebody else on this site mentioned that the book's ickiness brought to mind the photo of a nude Burt Reynolds. However, with John Hawkes (here at least), you get a whole lot of phallic imagery and silly psychoanalysis with your icky kitsch. If this book were a film, it'd probably fall somewhere between soft focus Eurosleaze (with M ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary, mystery
Sex Without Feeling

Hawkes, John (1974). Death, Sleep, & the Traveler. New York: New Directions.

Main character Allert (accent on the first syllable) is an overweight, middle-aged Dutchman with a younger, beautiful wife, Ursula. Their neighbor, Peter, a psychiatrist and trim, younger man, is attracted to Ursula, and Allert likes to watch the two of them have sex on the living room floor. For Peter, watching Allert and Ursula having sex makes him just a tiny bit jealous. Ursula is indifferent t
Cooper Cooper
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the second volume in Hawkes’ trilogy that also includes The Blood Oranges and Travesty. Death, Sleep and the Traveler concerns the existential predicament of a big lumpy unemotional middle-aged Dutchman who is obsessed with sex. Having inherited a small estate and not needing to work, he has been able to devote his life to womanizing and to amassing a connoisseur’s collection of pornography. In mid-life he marries a very sensual woman, and they soon form a voluptuous menage à trois with ...more
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Definitetly a good book to get away. If you want something off the dark end with a little bit of sexuality, it's a pretty good book. My favorite part of Hawks story is that splits the story back and forth throught time and emotion. There isn't necessary a plot or climatic point, but an aggressive story slope to climb down. The artistic writing and metaphorical use makes up for the fact that it's a very short book. But definetly worth it.
Gary McDowell
Nov 13, 2010 rated it liked it
A little TOO post-modern for me. Still, it's a great piece of prose...but the story? Come on.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In my twenties, I was gaga over this author. Today I can barely recall a single detail of anything of his that I've read, and this novel I found tiresome.
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
not his best work but definately obscure interesting with unique use of language
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Did a review of this book here:
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
For some reason Hawkes has fallen under my radar for my entire reading life. I picked up this and was hooked. Dreamy, poetic, suspenseful, ugly, and sexy, all at the same time. THE LIME TWIG is next.
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who want beautiful nightmares
john hawkes was a brilliant, beautiful freak. so's this book. caveat: it's dark, dark, dark. don't be on a cruise ship when you read this story.
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John Hawkes, born John Clendennin Talbot Burne Hawkes, Jr., was a postmodern American novelist, known for the intensity of his work, which suspended the traditional constraints of the narrative.
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, and educated at Harvard University, Hawkes taught at Brown University for thirty years. Although he published his first novel, The Cannibal, in 1949, it was The Lime Twig (196
More about John Hawkes