Title: When We Sleep
Author: Ernesto H. Lee
Genre: Supernatural fiction
When We Sleep by Ernesto H. Lee is a supernatural fiction book with a focus on the mysteries that his dreams have to offer. The book blurb promises bizarre truths the reader will encounter.
The book does offer a twist right away in that the author himself is also the main character. The book is seemingly intended to be a memoir/autobiographical with the events that occur being from Ernesto’s real life. His openness in sharing is commendable. In text, Ernesto Lee is an employee at a property management company. Book-bound Ernesto works each day out of an office complex in Abu Dhabi. However, he is a British national.
The character of Ernesto has an ex-wife and an adult-aged son. He also has a girlfriend, Maria, who is in her mid-30’s (so perhaps a bit younger than Ernesto himself, considering that he has an adult-aged son). Two other characters include Harry and Allison. These are Ernesto and Maria’s mutual friends, who often accompany them on their many adventures (like extensive double-dating). The relationships among these four read as realistic and genuine, making this a highlight of the book.
The book covers daily events and nightly dreams dating from January 7 to May 20, 2018. In fact, the chapters follow a pattern of describing one nightly dream and one day’s activities. This makes the book read very much like a “slice of life.” Yet, in this book, so much of the “life” that Ernesto is experiencing (and writing about) occurs during his sleeping, or more precisely, his dreaming hours.
While the book reads somewhat like a “slice of life,” the pattern of dream and day becomes somewhat repetitive and even mundane. The reader may really start to wonder when all these bizarre truths will start emerging. The dreams Ernesto have are themselves sometimes bizarre. Many center around lingering themes from his daily life, including events in the news and movies he recently watched.
Perhaps the book could be described as more of a “slow burn,” as the reader must stick with it to receive the payoff. Along the way, the reader learns more and more about Ernesto’s life and dreams, including some of the mundane daily details and some of the more exciting moments, such as his trip to Vegas. As his dreams and daily life unfold and intertwine, Ernesto comes to a startling conclusion about those dreams.
It may be interesting for the reader to follow his life and see it unfold, but perhaps it’s not as bizarre as promised in the book’s blurb. Readers seeking and expecting themes reminiscent of Inception may be somewhat disappointed as the book ends up being more like 50 First Dates in its repetition of life. Yet, these seemingly repetitive days build toward the conclusion and the reader will want to follow along to track the facts. The book itself is well-written and it’s clear that Lee is a strong writer, even if the blurb perhaps oversells the content.
For interested readers, this book is generally recommended for adult audiences. This is due to some of the content, notably alcohol related. In fact, he sometimes drinks himself unconscious, which might not make him the best role model for young adults or children. Given the focus on dreams and daily life, there is also other adult content that might not be appropriate for younger audiences.
When We Sleep is recommended for those who enjoy thinking critically about dreams and their hidden meanings. This book is a well-written tale with supernatural themes. It blends the real and the surreal to carry the reader to some intriguing conclusions. Ultimately, When We Sleep will leave you wondering about your own experiences in dreams and what truly happens when you sleep.
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