On to what I can say. Wright Morris is the author of this next to last Near-Pulitzer for 1954, The Deep Sleep. He hailed from Nebraska. He lived to be 88 years old. He was also a photographer. He won the National Book Award twice during his lifetime and, as I’ve said, nearly won a Pulitzer. Nearly. What a sad word, but then, it’s a lot closer than I’ve ever been to acknowledgement by Columbia University. And in all seriousness now, I want to read more Wright Morris. See, I rather liked this book with its wry yet mature treatment of difficult characters and its overarching generosity to the true believers (the dogmatic, the exacting) among us. Morris wrote more than 30 books … plenty of choices. Very exciting.
So that title. I found it rather intriguing. The Deep Sleep. Does it refer to the deceased individual who’s at the center of Morris’ book? Does it refer to the trudging wife of the deceased who seems to live in her own exclusive world? Perhaps to the hired hand who is so passive he’s like a sleepwalker? Or maybe to the son-in-law dozing off within the walls of his cynicism? Or is it a reminder to us that “to sleep” is ultimately where we are all going and we might as well be kind and helpful to those we meet on the way?
A thoughtful novel that takes place in exactly 24 hours, you could set your watch by the character of the grandmother, just like the Judge used to. Oops. Have I said too much? Nooooo. I guess not. Actually, I’ve said too little for that “Judge” reference to be clear, but that’s okay. Just read the book … or one of Morris’ many other novels. Did I mention he won the National Book Award twice?
“Craig is reading all of the Pulitzer-prize winning novels in chronological order. See the origins of this journey here.”