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The Second Sleep: the Sunday Times #1…
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The Second Sleep: the Sunday Times #1 bestselling novel (utgåvan 2019)

av Robert Harris (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4423642,008 (3.44)44
1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artifacts - coins, fragments of glass, human bones - which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death? Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. Over the course of the next six days, everything he believes - about himself, his faith, and the history of his world - will be tested to destruction.… (mer)
Medlem:SESedgemore
Titel:The Second Sleep: the Sunday Times #1 bestselling novel
Författare:Robert Harris (Författare)
Info:Hutchinson (2019), Edition: 1st, 336 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Second Sleep av Robert Harris

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» Se även 44 omnämnanden

engelska (35)  italienska (1)  Alla språk (36)
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*Spoiler Alert*
I loved the premise of this book. It starts in the 15th Century, but within a chapter or so, the word ‘plastic’ is mentioned, and it becomes clear that the action is taking place 14 centuries into the future...The inhabitants are ruled by a clergy that have forbidden excavations into the past. But one priest is curious.

So far so good, but the characters weren’t particularly interesting, and it took a lot of pages for not much to happen.

Am a fan of Harris, but found this tale disappointing, if thought-provoking , it could have been so much more. ( )
  LARA335 | Feb 2, 2021 |
That it's set 850 years into the future is discovered part way through - after some sort of apocalyptic event. Enjoyable future history romp. ( )
  cbinstead | Jan 25, 2021 |



'The Second Sleep' held me in its power from the first page by the strength of its prose and the clarity of its images. I was immediately immersed in the Somerset being described. I've lived in the region for a long time and it felt to me like coming home, except that it was not quite the same home I am accustomed to. That turned out to be part of the point of the novel.

Only slowly did I become aware that the world I was seeing so clearly was in the right place but the wrong time.

Chapter One opens with this description:

'Late on the afternoon of Tuesday 9th April in the year of Our Risen Lord 1468, a solitary traveller was to be observed, picking his way on horseback across the wild moorland of that ancient region of southwestern England, known since Saxon times as Wessex.'

I was fairly sure that I was reading about a fifteenth-century traveller riding across the moorlands and hills that I know well. I completely missed the slight but important difference signalled by the date being given as 'the year of Our Risen Lord' instead of the familiar, 'year of Our Lord'.

As I journey with the weary, soon to be benighted, traveller, I learned that he was a priest far from home, finding his way through unfamiliar countryside. When he reached the top of a hill and got his first view of his destination, the geography seemed familiar and the architecture lulled me further into my assumption of being in the fifteenth century. Here's what the cleric sees:

'At the bottom of valley, about a mile distant, was a river with a bridge. Next to it a small settlement of mostly thatched rooves was centred around a squire stone church tower.

It was only when he reached the church tower that I was pulled out of the illusion. I read:

'He halted at the lichgate and looked about him. A cobbled path led through the graveyard to the portico of a church that he guessed must have stood square on this land for at least a thousand years, more likely fifteen hundred.'

The oldest church I've seen in these parts is Saxon, dating from the eleventh century. A square tower like this sounds Norman and is more likely to be from the twelfth century. I realised that either this cleric didn't know his churches and was adding a thousand years to what should have been a two-hundred-and-something year-old church or I wasn't in the fifteenth century but in the late twenty-first or early twenty-second century. So why the thatched roofs and the travel by horseback?

The whole book is like that. A time and place clearly, often beautifully described, but one that is not our past or our present but an unexpected future.

'The Second Sleep' is a post-apocalyptic novel. Not one of those living-in-the-ashes aftermath post-apocalyptic novels but one where the apocalypse itself is a distant memory.

For me, what made it fascinating was the way this new present over-wrote our past and our present, a new occupant in a place that's largely unchanged. Part of the conceit of the book is the dominance of the Church Of England and the use of the St. James version of the Bible as the basis for all authorised English. This brings back Thee and Yea form of speech which is archaic but familiar. It makes the new reality easier to understand but does not make it any less strange and unique.

Yet this novel is more than a clever idea, it's a window into a whole world. What makes the view worth seeing is that the characters in the story feel very real. None of them are simplifications. They are complex people, capable of surprising me as I read about them. There is no proselytising. No political message. Just a view of real people, recognisable as people we might meet but whose beliefs and expectations have been shaped by different circumstances.

I won't go into the plot here, except to say that it was engaging and surprising and perfectly paced. The ending takes some thinking about. What I took away from it was the idea that each generation is bound to its own present and has its own selective view of history but that we are always driven by the same things: passion, fear, curiosity, pride, love, the need to know and the need to be safe.

I recommend the audiobook version of 'The Second Sleep'. Roy McMillan does an excellent job in bringing this novel to life. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


https://soundcloud.com/audiolibrary-a/the-second-sleep-by-robert-harris-audioboo...

( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Jan 16, 2021 |
This novel began strong, simmered nicely in the middle, but ended with a whimper. It is as if the author ran out of steam with its abrupt ending leaving a number of loose ends untied. Although I believed this to a standalone novel, now I'm not too sure. It is as if the author is setting the stage for a sequel.

The novel opens in the year 1468 with our protagonist, Fr. Christopher Fairfax assigned to the cathedral city of Exeter, England being directed by the Bishop to celebrate at the funeral of the pastor of the distant village, Addicott St. George, who recently died after a fall from a nearby geological outcropping called the Devil's Chair. Shortly after he arrives, Fairfax discovers that the pastor's office contains a number of heretical documents.

When I first began reading this novel, I believed I was reading a medieval mystery similar to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. However when Fairfax also discovers that the local parson's office includes a collection of artifacts, such as a plastic rectangular object with the symbol of an apple with a bite taken out of it, that I wasn't reading a medieval mystery. The year is actually the number of years after a major catastrophic event which has driven the world to a pre-technological state. No one remembers exactly what the catastrophe was that created a now dystopic environment. Additionally, the church has become arbiter of which actions are heretical with full authority to punished the heretics.

If this book is the prequel to other books, I might re-evaluate my rating; however, for now it stands because it of its abrupt and dissatisfying climax. ( )
  John_Warner | Dec 16, 2020 |
I'm a great fan of Robert Harris and this one didn't disappoint, although I will probably have to read it again at some point to get the chronology. Interestingly, some of the painting he describes toward the end correspond with a post I made recently regarding aboriginal art.
  MikeFARoberts | Nov 26, 2020 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Harris, Robertprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Kappel, Rogier vanÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
McMillan, Roymedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Until the close of the modern era, Western Europeans
on most evenings experienced two major intervals
of sleep ... The initial interval of slumber was usually
referred to as "first sleep ..." The succeeding interval was
called "second" or "morning" sleep ... Both phases lasted
roughly the same length of time, with individuals waking
some time after midnight before returning to rest.
- A. Roger Ekirch,
At Day's Close: A History of Nighttime

It was impossible to dig more than a foot or two deep
about the town fields and gardens without coming upon
some tall soldier or other of the Empire, who had lain
there in his silent unobtrusive rest for a space of fifteen
hundred years. He was mostly found lying on his side, in
an oval scoop in the chalk, like a chicken in its shell; his
knees drawn up to his chest; sometimes with the remains
of his spear against his arm, a fibula or brooch of bronze
on his breast or forehead, an urn at his knees, a jar at his
throat, a bottle at his mouth ... They had lived so long
ago, their time was so unlike the present, their hopes and
motives were so widely removed from ours, that between
them and the living there seemed to stretch a gulf too
wide for even a spirit to pass.
-Thomas Hardy,
The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
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Late on the afternoon of Tuesday the ninth of April in the Year of Our Risen Lord 1468, a solitary traveller was to be observed picking his way on horseback across the wild moorland of that ancient region of southwestern England known since Saxon times as Wessex.
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1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artifacts - coins, fragments of glass, human bones - which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death? Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. Over the course of the next six days, everything he believes - about himself, his faith, and the history of his world - will be tested to destruction.

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