The Sleepwalkers' Ball by Alan Bilton
Academic Curriculum: University of Duisburg-Essen, and the Institute for English Studies, Germany. 'Hot Off the Presses: Contemporary British and Irish Voices
Hans is a dreamer, a waiter, a security guard, a young man tending elderly parents, a layabout, an old man scribbling his memories. Driven out in his pyjamas into a strangely black and white Scottish town, Hans sets off in search of both his girl and the one mysterious thing that will solve the riddle of his life. Clara is the art school girl with the lovely round face and ants in her pants, the crazy girl from the pub, always hindered by luggage or her dodgy innards, the sleepy waitress at the ball in the castle grounds, the blowzy dame with the world's most beautiful mouth. But can they find each other in time?
Set sometime around now, and yet also any time, this is a beautifully surreal romantic comedy wrapped around the forms of the silent film and the Gothic city ghost tour. A cross between Kafka and Mary Poppins, The Sleepwalkers' Ball is filmic, funny and lyrical in turns. Always moving, it follows two lives: a man and a woman, and their many attempts to hook up together.
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"Kafka meets Milligan and Chaplin at the twinning party of Royston Vasey with the Gorbals" and Other Reviews
Alan Bilton teaches American Studies at Swansea University. His nonfiction titles are An Introduction to Contemporary American Fiction (New York/Edinburgh University Press) and the three-volume (co-authored) America in the 1920s (Helm). He is currently writing a book on silent film comedy.
“Back to the castle we go, for all tours must end at the same point they begin. What's that sir? Our theme? Why, the indolence of man, sir, lethargy, laziness and sloth.”
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