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sleep badly

Order the book from
City Lights

A Book Marks Top 10 of 2008

Read a review in:
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SO MANY WAYS TO SLEEP BADLY
is about struggling to find hope in the ruins of everyday San Francisco — battling roaches, bikram yoga, chronically bad sex, NPR, internet cruising, tweakers, the cops, $100 bills, chronic pain, the gay vote, vegan restaurants, and incest, with the help of air-raid sirens, herbal medicine, late-night epiphanies, sea lions, and sleeping pills. So Many Ways to Sleep Badly unveils a gender-bending queer world where nothing flows smoothly, except for those sudden moments when everything becomes lighter or brighter or easier to imagine.

"A gender-bending novel [that] unearths subjects still relatively untouched in popular culture... you're not going to be reading anything similar elsewhere."
- The Times (London)

“A blistering rollercoaster through one individual's experiences and dreams… Mattilda has taken a snapshot from the start of this decade, straight from the voices of queer realities in San Francisco, and distilled it into a glorious rant about surviving and dealing with life.”
- The Skinny (Edinburgh)

“When I read the first chapter of the newest novel by San Francisco poster child for surviving-and-thriving gender/queer punks everywhere, I felt like I was being yelled at by an excited, manic friend who was pacing around a roach-infested kitchen, occasionally breaking into a runway walk while wearing hot pants made of burnt rainbow flags… The rapid-fire, honest glimpse into the post-gay ruins of San Francisco will likely break even the toughest punk heart.”
- NOW Magazine (Toronto)

“Like William S. Burroughs meets David Sedaris, offering a sort of surreal urban grit with poisoned-arrow that stings and sometimes reveals.”
- San Francisco Chronicle

“By turns raunchy and tender, Sycamore's wryly neurotic text is often funny... Subtly political, [it] posits friendship, camaraderie, and activism as ways to defy the morass of Republicrat rule. What's more, in quips worthy of Stephen Colbert, he slams San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, the Iraq War, and the queer rush to the altar celebrated by mainstream liberals.”
- Library Journal

“Quick, playful, disarming, literary, hip, deadly serious, and decidedly provocative… a near-surrealistic montage of contemporary queer life in San Francisco and, really, all of American culture. Sycamore's mordant sense of humor catches us off-guard, but not enough to alienate us… It's tempting to see Sycamore as a queer Samuel Beckett crossed with Woody Allen… It's Ulysses, but on too much crystal and a hard prick up its ass and set in San Francisco not Dublin — but it makes us work as well. Sycamore is not an immediately accessible writer (although he's compulsively readable) but the intellectual and emotional work here is well worth it.”
- The Guide

“Sexy, funny, fluorescent prose that sashays a fine line between surrealism and self-indulgence… So Many Ways to Sleep Badly is not so much a novel as a series of fever dreams.”
- Passport Magazine

“A challenging, messy account of a life in San Francisco, written in an unflinching (and at times raunchy) stream of consciousness that recalls William Burroughs.”
- 7x7 Magazine (San Francisco)

“Shows readers a San Francisco that Frommer’s doesn’t know about.”
- San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Deep in a left-wing analysis of lawless sexuality.”
- SF Weekly

“Profane meanderings.”
- Publishers Weekly

"In 1955, City Lights published Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, an attack on the conformity and the alienation of that era. Now here’s another great paean to a counterculture of hustlers, junkies and visionary angels to wash the taste of the Bush years out of our mouths. Instead of incantation, it is a hooker’s pillowbook that describes a community of physical uproar and activism based on doubt. What a tonic this book is — that people fuck with such conviction and attention to detail! It’s like a treasure map of a San Francisco with orgasms instead of doubloons. Mattilda, which bathrooms at State do you mean? The map is the body, volcanic, weary, sick, fragile and tough."
- Robert Glück

"Reading a chapter of this amazing book is like when someone throws you into the deep end and you don’t know how to swim. You feel like you’re gonna drown, like how am I going to do this? You can’t breathe and you flail and start to sink, you’re freezing but then you feel brisk then actually kind of exhilarated and then you are breathing not mere air but something rich and sweet and fluid, a thing a whole lot like the inside of your body. You breathe in this new element – this frantic, fluid prose -- and read like you have never read before."
- Rebecca Brown

"So Many Ways to Sleep Badly is a perfectly tidy mess, a Sex in the Other City—only these sexual escapades and flailing urges are truly transgressive and flamboyantly hilarious at every turn. Sycamore deftly skewers a landscape that's been completely sacked by mindless consumerism and unchecked gentrification, whether it's a Whole Foods customer whining, "Which fish is the least fishy?" or an earnest yoga practitioner bragging about opening a factory in China. And hallelujah: this refreshingly frenetic and innovative second novel is unabashedly political, but without being formulaic or reductive. It is a book that has done nothing less than invent its own language—and I promise it'll still be singing to you long after you close your eyes at night."
- T Cooper

"Mattilda's brilliance makes stream-of-consciousness a lifestyle, a state-of consciousness. This is an entire lived life's worth of heartshaking honesty, arch observation, searing vulnerabilty and craving and seeking, all in one breathtakingly poetic (and hilarious) book. Life is hard, I'm in tears, Mattilda's book is simultaneously the cause and the comfort."
- Michelle Tea

"Like the best writers that have come before -- David Wojnarowicz, Lou Reed, William Burroughs -- Sycamore has boiled life and times down to a resin that you could almost grind, cut up and snort. There is no one else on this planet that could write this book. Dare I say it's a classic? Yes, and I dare you to read it."
- Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters

 

 

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