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Sunday Read: “Night”, A Reflection on Sleep by Nobel Laureate Alice Munro

This coming week sees the announcement of the finalists for the 2015 Man Book International Prize, an event which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. Therefore it seems fitting to present to you, as this week’s Sunday Read, a story by a previous winner of this esteemed literary award, Nobel laureate Alice Munro.

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Granta has recently shared an essay by this award-winning author, entitled “Night”.

In it, she recalls the night her appendix had to be removed, remembering that “there seemed to be never a childbirth, or a burst appendix, or any other drastic physical event that did not occur simultaneously with a snowstorm”. This night led her to think about cancer for the first time, albeit briefly as topics such as that were not to be discussed.

Munro goes on to recount her sleeping habits, or lack thereof to the point where she was not herself any more. The essay on sleep evolves to reveal the dark thoughts that almost overwhelmed her, and her eventual victory over sleeplessness.

Read Munro’s essay about the period between sunset and sunrise, a story which first appeared in her anthology called Dear Life:

By this time it wasn’t sleep I was after. I knew mere sleep wasn’t likely. Maybe not even desirable. Something was taking hold of me and it was my business, my hope, to fight it off. I had the sense to do that, but only barely, as it seemed. It was trying to tell me to do things, not exactly for any reason but just to see if such acts were possible. It was informing me that motives were not necessary.

It was only necessary to give in. How strange. Not out of revenge, or even cruelty, but just because you had thought of something.

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Image courtesy of BBC


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