Sleeper's wake, by Alistair Morgan
Written in lucid, often beautiful prose, Alistair Morgan's novel 'Sleeper's Wake' is a haunting study of man at his most naked and vulnerable.
When I woke up they had to remind me that I had been in an accident. A week has now passed since I returned home from hospital. Of the accident itself I remember nothing. The pills have jumbled up the sequence of events in my mind, and my memory has temporarily (I hope) lost the ability to judge the depth and proportion of time that has passed. Everyone keeps saying that I need time to heal. But I doubt I have enough time to do all the healing that is required. My time is finite and the process of healing is, I suspect, infinite. It feels as if my forehead has been split into two tectonic plates that would drift apart were it not for the nylon stitches binding them together. There is a constant pressure behind the stitches, as though my brain is hoping to escape like molten lava through this tear in my skin. The stitches run diagonally across my forehead, from just above my right eyebrow to the receding hairline on the opposite side. The flesh around the stitches is tender and puffy. Frowning or raising my eyebrows floods my entire head with hot, excruciating pain, causing me to swear out loud. And so I keep my eyebrows level and expressionless. The itchiness of the stitches sometimes makes me wonder if there isn't an infection, but I have been assured that this is in fact a sign of healing. It goes without saying that I will be left with a scar. Plastic surgery, they told me, is always an option, though it's best to wait until the stitches are out and the wound has closed over before deciding. But I have already decided against it. What is the point of covering up what everyone knows is there? I have seen the way people look at me when they come to visit. Their forlorn stares go from my eyes to the cut, back to my eyes and then back to the cut. It is easier for them to comprehend a simple gash in my flesh, rather than trying to comprehend whatever it is they see in my eyes. Apart from the cut on my forehead there is disturbingly little evidence of trauma to my body. I have three fractured ribs and random patches of bruising that have stained my legs, hips, abdomen and arms. The ribs only trouble me when I cough or sneeze and when I turn in my sporadic sleep. I long for a more consistent form of rest. Even with the pills I cannot manage more than a couple of hours at a time. I often find myself either sinking down towards a dark, dreamless state or drifting up towards light and wakefulness. In a single day I experience several sunrises and sunsets, like a satellite hurtling around the earth in a low orbit. What I want is to burn through the atmosphere and fall to earth, to feel the welcoming grip of gravity instead of the weightless limbo in which I exist. I have been assigned a social worker, someone who will act as my guide through the 'challenges that lie ahead'. I have met with her three times, as far as I can remember. Her name is Kaashiefa, a pretty woman with smooth, toffee-coloured skin, high cheekbones and slender limbs. She is unmarried and at least ten years younger than me, somewhere in her early thirties. [...]
This is an excerpt from the novel 'Sleeper's wake', by Alistair Morgan.
Title: Sleeper's wake
Author: Alistair Morgan
Publisher: The Penguin Group (SA)
Cape Town, South Africa 2009
ISBN 9780143528074 / ISBN 978-0-14-352807-4
Softcover, 13 x 19 cm, 300 pages
Morgan, Alistair im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Sleeper's wake is a haunting, evocative, disturbing and powerful study of man at his most naked and vulnerable.