Sleep hit the ground running at its September launch, already backed by a starred review from Quill & Quire and a rare rave from Phil Marchand in the National Post, who called it “one of the Ricci’s most deeply felt novels, and one of his riskiest.”
Emily Donaldson, writing in the Globe and Mail, described Sleep as “Ricci’s Bad Lieutenant moment,” though with Sleep‘s David Pace raising the ante on Harvey Keitel’s bad lieutenant. “It’s a novel likely to spur another insipid debate about whether characters need to be ‘likeable,'” she writes, “which David is not. But let’s hope that it doesn’t, and that readers are willing to follow Ricci to the festeringly grim but undeniably compelling place he has travelled to.”
Robert Collison takes up that very debate in his Toronto Star review, finding “much to commend in this book, including long bouts of wonderful writing” but describing Pace as “one of the most thoroughly disagreeable characters I’ve encountered in recent fiction.” Spoiler alert: Collison gives away a few crucial plot points, bemoaning, among Pace’s other sins, his “systemic plagiarism,” his “horrendous parenting skills” and his “shockingly disturbing sadomasochistic affair” with a friend’s wife.
Buzz has been building over Sleep since the summer, when the Globe and Mail chose it as one of the 20 books to watch for in the fall season, along with heavy-hitters like Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. In August Sleep was one of four books excerpted by the Globe as among the fall’s most anticipated. A feature profile of Ricci in the trade publication Quill & Quire, closely watched by booksellers and industry insiders, was followed by their starred pre-publication review, which has set the tone for the book’s reception.
The book’s launch was marked by wide media coverage, including profiles in the Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire and appearances on Canada AM and Global’s Morning Show. Ricci now begins a national tour with stops in a dozen cities, including Montreal, Windsor, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. For information on upcoming appearances, visit his Events page.What did you learn in school today? Sharing.