Many many many moons ago, ex Le Grande Fromage, the Most Important Man in the Booktrade, and almost completely bald chap Scott Pack recommended Thirteen on his (in)famous blog as being the best thing he read in 2007.
It took me bloody ages to open the copy I had.... and I finally finished it a wee while ago.
It completely baffled me I have to say and as someone who's not so bright - I was both confused and delighted by it. The author was a taxi driver in Brighton in real REAL life, and this novel is a first person narrative of Stephen Bardot, a, wait for it, taxi driver in Brighton who permanently works the night shift following his family business collapsing and a bout of extreme depression.
I am relatively well acquainted with the lack of sleep phenomenon that effects those of us blessed with either guilt induced insomnia, weak bladders, or just stupid get-up/go-to-bed ratios - that is; that the brain is a wild and crazy thing that can turn the world on its head if it feels a touch fat-i-gay. So the notion that there is a particular state of mind to be reached when excruciatingly tired - Thirteen - doesn’t seem all that unbelievable to me. The idea that what is really real, and what is Thirteen real can become so all discombobulated and merge into one state of extreme consciousness also didn’t strike me as completely unbelievable - and as such I completely bought into the premise of this book....
It kind of scared me a bit as well as making me smile gently at times, and all together I was left feeling strangely warmed at the end...is it the best book I've read so far in 2008? No. But then, I know nothing about nothing.