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The Sleeping Father

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  395 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Chris e Cathy são irmãos e estão a viver as angústias e os desafios da adolescência de formas bem distintas. Enquanto o espírito subversivo de Chris o leva a embarcar numa jornada de experimentação, Cathy procura uma estratégia de salvação capaz de desvendar o tão desejado sentido da vida. À incómoda ingenuidade das suas incursões no mundo adulto, junta-se um pai “adormeci ...more
Published (first published September 26th 2003)
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3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  395 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is unusual and hard to describe. Primarily a story of a divorced family with two teenage children that live with their father. The father accidentally takes the wrong medication and becomes brain damaged but before any of this began I have to believe this family was different. The children are independent, intelligent, and loyal to their father, if disrespectful. Though I really don't know children like this, there are flashes of truth through out this book of the angst of adolescence. ...more
Kate Gould
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a hard book to review. Parts of it are good but overall it feels like it's trying too hard to be clever/funny. I couldn't connect to Chris at all - practically everything he said annoyed me. I didn't dislike it as such, it was just okay. 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An endearing family portrait. Sarcastic and darkly humorous.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Heidi Mckye
Feb 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 09, 2011 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
Jan 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
James Deignan
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tom Mayer
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
Jun 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 29, 2007 rated it liked it
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).
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrific book by a relatively obscure writer.Very funny and sarcastic,worth reading again and again.
Big Momma
I enjoyed the writing style, the story & characters etc, but it seemed that the end was a little underwhelming! pity :(
Cris Mazza
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cris by: Soft Skull Press
I loved the contemporary form of omniscient narration used in this novel.
Nov 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious, poignant...
Oct 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty hard to put down
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nic Stringer
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Heather H
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: long-ago-reads
A book that's made me physically laugh out loud. Rare
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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