Literary Fiction

House of Sleep

By

This book will launch on Feb 26, 2021. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Loved it! 😍

In the "House of Sleep," nobody is alone when they share their dreams.

Dreams have provided fertile material for literature. There is a vast lore attributing cause, purpose, and meaning to dreams. A novelist would be hard pressed to write about them in any new way.


Still, in “House of Sleep,” Brad Kelly’s mesmeric first novel, dreams are more than just chimeras of the subconscious. They are the shared visions that bind a community of “Sleepers” together, for, to them, “A dream you dream together is reality.”


The night before Lynn’s partner, Michael, dies in an automobile accident, she dreams of his death. Lynn despairs that she never had a chance to say goodbye and fears that “until I do, the part of me that doesn’t know he’s gone will be desperately looking for him.” 


Lynn is a therapist at a mental health clinic. Nevertheless, nothing alleviates her grief. Upon a friend’s suggestion, Lynn checks herself into the House of Sleep, a communal retreat, “some kind of utopia on a plateau,” where “All I really know is that they are remembering their dreams.”


The leader of the Sleepers is Diving Man (DM), who is a combination of a bodhisattva, a charlatan, and a surfer dude. In the grand tradition of cult leaders, DM claims supernatural abilities. “I do not sleep. I am always asleep. There is no contradiction.”


Raised in a bomb shelter, DM wandered the world seeking self-knowledge. Ultimately, his search led to acquisition of the One, a drug created by the military (who else?), which turned wakefulness into “a sterile nightmare and dreamtime the favored seat of reality.” Communal ingestion of the One is the centerpiece of DM’s spiritual treatment.


A bedraggled stranger, Daniel, wanders into the domain. The survivor of a failed exorcism, he is psychologically fragile but spiritually gifted. DM recognizes Daniel’s potential; he also senses a mind connection between him and Lynn. Thus, DM hatches a plan to exploit their special powers.   


Kelly writes as if having fun. He conveys the peculiar world of the Sleepers with crisp imagery and in a buoyant style, so there is playfulness even in darker passages. Conversely, his flourishes are sometimes overwrought, such as where he describes the surface of a river as “…the graven face of the water—its immensity aphanite and immanent, hypaethral.“ One adjective would suffice, please.


Like dreams, “House of Sleep” is weird and layered with multiple possible interpretations. However, I don't recommend reading it before going to bed.

Reviewed by

Gregg Sapp is author of the “Holidazed” satires. To date, four titles have been released: “Halloween from the Other Side,” “The Christmas Donut Revolution,” “Upside Down Independence Day,” and “Murder by Valentine Candy.” Previous books are "Dollarapalooza" and “Fresh News Straight from Heaven.”

About the author

Brad Kelly is a fiction writer from Detroit. In 2013, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. His work has appeared in a number of literary journals, both online and in print. He will read your tarot. He is your friend. view profile

Published on January 09, 2021

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction

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