A poet recounts his experience with madness and explores the relationship between apprehension and imagination.
In the summer of 1977, standing on a roadside somewhere between Dachau and Munich, twenty-two-year-old Mike Barnes experienced the dawning of the psychic break he’d been anticipating almost all his life. “Times over the years when I have tried to describe what followed,” he writes of that moment, “it has always come out wrong.” In this finely wrought, deeply intelligent memoir of madness, its antecedents and its aftermath, Barnes reconstructs instead what led him to that moment and offers with his characteristic generosity and candor the captivating account of a mind restlessly aware of itself.
Praise for Sleep is Now a Foreign Country
“As riveting as it is terrifying, as mysterious as it is illuminating, Mike Barnes’s Sleep is Now a Foreign Country takes us inside the claustrophobic, kaleidoscopic world of madness. Like a sedimentary rock, layers of meaning are stacked upon one another inside its slim pages, building a structure so unlike any other book that you can’t put it down without being changed.”
—Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
“Sleep is Now a Foreign Country is an intricately structured rendering of madness and memory, a mix of hallucination and dense, concrete realism, which only makes the phantasmagoria of illusion all the more poignant. This is an amazing work—supremely intelligent, coolly self-analytical, eerie, melancholy, revelatory and terrifying.”
—Douglas Glover, winner of the Governor-General’s Award for Elle
Praise for Mike Barnes
“Timely, lyrical, tough, accurate.”
—Margaret Atwood on Twitter
“Masterful … The Adjustment League is suspenseful, exquisitely written and—at times—corrosively funny.”
“Fiercely alive, marked by a sharp, unerring eye for detail and a wonderful way with metaphors.”
“Poetically compelling and evocative … The Lily Pond is the ultimate act of recollection.”
—Quill and Quire