The Innocent Sleep by Karen Perry is very close to me declaring that this book is this season’s Gone Girl. And that is very high praise indeed. The two person narrative is incredibly well executed, perhaps because Karen Perry is two different writers, and actually works to the flow of the novel.
The Innocent Sleep is the story of a young artistic married couple who lose their child one evening during an earthquake. The husband Harry is planning a special birthday dinner for his wife Robin. To ensure that they won’t be disturbed, he does something he has done before. He gives their son Dillon, a drug to put him to sleep. As Dillon sleeps and Robin is not home as of yet, Harry steps out to retrieve a gift he had left at a friend’s home. In the small window of time that Harry is gone, an earthquake hits and the home is destroyed. The small child Dillon is gone, his body never recovered.
What follows is the how Harry and Robin attempt to deal with the loss. As they try to go forward with their lives and yet live with the actions and circumstances that led to the loss of their son Dillon.
“…My sketches of Dillon were all dated. And I sat there sifting through the years, sifting through the hundreds of pencil drawings and charcoal impressions I had of the boy as he might have aged. The boy. Do you hear me? Call him what he was; my son…”
Then the unthinkable happens. The impossible. Five years after the earthquake and the loss of Dillon. While watching a march one morning; Harry spots a woman walking. A woman holding the hand of a young boy who looks exactly like what Dillon would have looked liked had he lived. Exactly like the charcoal drawings he had been doing. And just like that, Harry is convinced that Dillon lives.
Harry goes forward in search of his son. As the story unfolds we learn that Harry is the only one who had not accepted the loss of Dillon. But is it hope that Harry holds on to or guilt? It was after all Harry who had drugged the child and it was Harry who had left Dillon alone that night.
Robin struggles with the loss of her child and with the strength to hold her husband together. We learn of her pain and her desire to build a life and move forward.
But it is the secrets that this couple has that hold the truth to the story. Secrets about one another, about themselves and eventually about Dillon that threatened to destroy the thin fabric of their marriage and happiness.
The Innocent Sleep is a powerful tale of one couple’s strength and the descent into madness of a father or his powerful reach for hope.
This is an excellent drama as well as a powerful mystery. There are twists and turns in this story that I will not share. I think that to enjoy a good book a reader must come upon these twists as the writer had intended and not in some blogger’s review. But trust me they are there and you will not see them coming.
The Innocent Sleep will be one of those books this year that you will measure all others by.
A very good read.
Purchase – <a href="The Innocent Sleep: A Novel“>Amazon