Author Nino Ricci used his narcolepsy diagnosis and problems with sleep as inspiration for his new novel, according to The Globe and Mail.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that sleep is a topic Ricci explores in a new novel of the same name. Sleep tells the story of David Pace, a former rising star in the world of academia who, at the novel’s outset, is trapped in a volatile marriage and is struggling to get his career, which has never lived up to the promise of his first book, back on track. Many of his troubles can be traced to his sleep problems, which he keeps hidden from his family despite the fact they’re growing worse – on the opening page he’s nearly involved in a high-speed collision after momentarily falling asleep at the wheel of his car; only the cries of his five-year-old son, sitting in the backseat, saves them both. Still, Sleep resembles nothing so much as a car crash in slow motion, played out over the subsequent 200 pages, as David’s life disentegrates both professionally and personally. “I can honestly say it’s not autobiographical,” says Ricci, who is married to the writer Erika de Vasconcelos, though in Sleep’s acknowledgments he thanks his children “for helping to spare me the fate of the protagonist in this novel.”
Ricci was raised in a household where there weren’t a lot of rules about sleep. His father, he says, would often head out after work to a club to play cards; after their mom fell asleep in front the television, Ricci and his siblings would stay up to watch a movie or The Tonight Show.