Night: Night Life, Night Language, Sleep and Dreams

A. Alvarez

“Nothing is definite, nothing precise,” Alvarez says of The Dark; even the author's negotiation of night itself, promised to unfurl with “a face of crumpled linen” and “a horrible smell of mould,” falls prey to random electric surges, dissolving finally into Freud's erotic interpretations of violets. Flowers in the night? Have we hit the REM stage yet? Alvarez, whose precocious indulgence in sex and food “lasted perhaps a dozen years and then was usurped by a new obsession: sleep,” drags us to his sleep lab by the hair, forcing us, Clockwork Orange style, to watch him dream, stumble over Freud and Coleridge, and inspect a “rosebud”-mouthed East Village whore. “The root cause of crime is poverty,” he quotes, until we howl between the sheets. Our bedtime prayers beg to deliver the moral of the story: Don't attempt to look for answers once the light has been turned off. JS

Publisher: Norton
Paperback: 290 pages