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Publisher's Summary

Winner of CWA Best unabridged Crime Audiobook 2012.

Winner – CRIME THRILLER OF THE YEAR – BRITISH BOOK AWARDS

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...'Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

©2011 S J Watson (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

Critic Reviews

“Quite simply the best debut novel I've ever read.” (Tess Gerritsen)
“Brilliant in its pacing, profound in its central question, suspenseful on every page - and satisfying in its thriller ending.” (Anita Shreve)
“A deft, perceptive exploration of a fascinating neurological condition, and a cracking good thriller.” (Lionel Shriver)
“A terrific first novel - well-written, genuinely unsettling and psychologically very plausible. Thrillers seldom come much better than this. Loved it, read it in one.” (Joanne Harris)
“An exceptional thriller. It left my nerves jangling for hours after I finished the last page.” (Dennis Lehane)
“So high-concept, so ambitious and so structurally brilliant. It's so rare to read a thriller that's perfect in every detail, but this one definitely qualifies!” (Sophie Hannah)
“A deeply unsettling debut that asks the most terrifying question - what do you have left when you lose yourself?” (Val McDermid)
“A truly amazing debut. The central character, Christine, is beautifully drawn. It's hard to imagine a more compelling, believable and sympathetic portrayal of a damaged human being. I loved it from start to finish.” (Mo Hayder)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Nicole
  • Bagneux, France
  • 06-20-11

Well read, intelligent, psychological thriller!

I was worried that a story whose main character is an amnesiac could come off as sort of a cheap story trick, like the ending 'then I woke up and realised it was all a dream', but this story really works, its well though out. The story is told from the first person point of view, Christine, the amnesiac in question, and we discover her story a little more each day. There is something very unsettling about this book from the beginning. Well imagine if you woke up with no knowledge of yourself or your life, who would you trust? That is scary. As a listener you are not sure if the doubt is valid or if there really is something more sinister going on. Then just how much we are in her head is claustrophobic and adds to the sense of something being really wrong, when she talks to someone, she is searching for clues as to who she is, so we are there with her, in her head, not just witnessing the conversation. I was very eager to keep listening to find out what happens next. The end, well you see it coming, but that isn't a weakness of the story, on the contrary, it just fills you with a sense of wanting to warn her, like someone about to get attacked by the boggy man in a film. The characters are all well developed, seem like real people. Please I want to know what happens to Christine the day after this book ends!

The reading is very good too. The voice is soft and feminine, matches the character of Christine very well. Its not read boring and flat, but neither over emphasised which can get annoying after several hours of listening.

After getting several books that were so disappointing I didn't even finish them, I finished this one over a long weekend. I really recommend it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • mr
  • altrincham, United Kingdom
  • 02-17-12

The central idea is positively scary!

The idea that everything is erased from your memory each time you go to sleep is a frightening one and one that is totally new to me.
The book is beautifully read and is a very taut psychological thriller. I found it impossible to work out the full denouement so it kept me in suspense up to the very end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very good premise, not so great execution

The book starts out well and has great potential. Unfortunately somewhere along the way the author decided to go into long, tedious descriptions, thoughts, ruminations of the main character and the like. Over, and over, and over. In an audio book it's a lot harder to skip the boring bits, and there were plenty of them. Cutting the book by about a third would have improved it immensely.

In addition the narrator sounded like a robot and read the book in a monotone.

If they come out with an abridged version with a different narrator, maybe try that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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like a thriller version of 50 first dates

If you could sum up Before I Go To Sleep in three words, what would they be?

Twists, enjoyable, gained momentum

What did you like best about this story?

As the listener, I wasn't always sure who was to be trusted, so it kept you second guessing what was happening. Got better as you became more involved.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Not a lot of intonation in the readers voice. Too flat and monotonous for me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, too long, but did put it straight on when I got into the car so I could keep going with the story.

Any additional comments?

I found the chronology a bit confusing. I'm still unsure about some of the time frames. Also, it was pretty slow starting out, but as the story unfolded it became more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good idea

Good idea! A nice psychological thriller, maybe a sightly repetitive at the beginning but well written

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Incredibly boring

Well..."this novel is a saddening bore, 'cause she's lived it ten times or more" Bowie could have told.
The start is fascinating, but it soon becomes so dull and repetitive! The style is so plain that I wonder how this book could have such a great success.
The reader doesn't help, but I surely don't envy her.
First time I am so disappointed by an Audible audiobook.

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Must listen!

I loved it and will watch the movie next.

Can't think of anything I didn't like about it.

Download now.

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started slow but moved on fast!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I actually thought this novel was going to be tedious but it was not. I have recommended the story to many other. To hea that it will be come a film next year is an exciting event.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book had a fantastic twist. I had guessed it initially but then second guessed myself. When it all came to an end I was still in shock.<br/>

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  • Overall
  • MRS
  • 05-20-11

This will keep you awake!

Set aside a whole day to listen to this one because once you start you won't be able to drag yourself away.Christine suffers from a devastating form of amnesia which has resulted in her being unable to access old memories or make new ones. Every day is a new beginning for her until she begins to keep a daily journal to help her to fill in the blanks. Her husband feeds her information but can she trust him....? The narrator perfectly conveys Christine's confusion. fear and paranoia. There are holes in the back story but no let up in the tension which, at times is unbearable.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kirstine
  • 02-17-13

An extraordinary stream of consciousness

Form the very start I was gripped by this unnerving and unusual book. All the more impressive as it is the author's first novel. All the time one is not sure what is really the truth about the main character's plight. The reader is excellent and the ending surprising. Highly recommended.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Pamela
  • 08-05-11

Superb Suspense

This book was great; I literally couldn't put down my iPod until I finished it. The suspense is superbly built to the point where you find yourself sitting on the edge of your chair without realising it. I spent the whole time trying to figure out what was going on and the author excellently plants several scenarios in the background that keep you guessing. Also five stars for the narrator who does a fantastic job of capturing the panic of someone who wakes up every day without a clue of what's happened or how she got there. Fantastic, definitely worth a listen.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Caroline
  • 11-20-11

Original idea but not well written

I was really looking forward to listening to this as the idea seemed so original but unfortunately the author did not have the skill to pull it off. The characters and relationships were flimsy and the ending was rather trite.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kelly
  • 07-05-11

wow hard to imagine life without a yesterday

wow hard to imagine life without remembering yesterday A great book, didn't want the story to end. It had so many twists and turns.
Extremely hard to put down

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Helen
  • 06-06-11

A book of two parts: brilliant, yet disappointing

The first two-thirds of this debut novel are the most compelling, page-turning, nail-biting pieces of fiction I've ever encountered. To wake up every morning with no memory of the recent past is at once tragic and haunting, yet this account is also tinged with foreboding. Chrissie is a sympathetic character, and it's easy to identify with her. Who can she trust? Who IS she? Are we the sum of our memories?

This is a psychological thriller that deals with themes of identity, personal loss, betrayal and memory. I simply couldn't stop listening (a 5-hour marathon listen over the ironing!)... until I got about two-thirds of the way through. Then it started to feel laboured and overdone. Things didn't add up. Other things were too convenient to the plot to be truly plausible. One of the female characters was less-than-convincing. And the ending was ultimately under-whelming and disappointing.

I will definitely read SJ Watson's work in the future, and I think he's probably 'one to watch', but hopefully an editor will keep a slightly firmer hand on the steering next time.

35 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jacqueline
  • 05-08-11

A twisted tale of deception too good to miss!!!

This is a very enticing book from the very first
paragraph. The story unfolds and you will be
listening to the narrator a woman who is telling you
her story. This is the story of a woman who has lost
her life after losing her memory and the path she
follows to find out who she actually is and what
happened to her. The plot twists and turns to weave
a story that is as intricate as it is deceptive.
This is a very well-crafted story which is well
narrated and exceptionally well executed a riveting
listen to the very unpredictable end. An absolute
must for audible listeners!

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anita
  • 06-21-11

Before I go to Sleep

I first heard about this book on Simon Mayo's Radio 2 Show when the author was on , I've not been disappointed. An excellent storyline, very different, I had so much empathy with the lead character Christine and her confusion, well written & read, a gripping story, and great twist at the end.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marcus
  • 06-12-11

Slow plotting let's thriller down

The reviews for this book were very good, not just audible listeners,  but also national newspapers.  This meant I had high expectations.  It starts well but over time  the lack of pace started to grate.  The writing wasn't good enough to make the main character interesting in her own right, and the plot revelations came too slowly.  I found myself speeding first to x1.5 and finally x2, which isn't a good sign.  The book finally builds some schlocky drama at the end, and I can see why Hollywood thinks it might make a good thriller.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jack
  • 09-17-12

average

the pacing was far too slow, and i know the main character forgets things, but my god it was so repetitive. everything was explained over n over again... we get it, shes got amnesia

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Qwerty1
  • 07-06-14

A good thriller

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. A good story, not too many characters involved, and thought provoking.

Any additional comments?

Some aspects were a little - why didn't she do this or Why didn't she do that, but sometimes you have to forgo these things and just enjoy the storyline. All in all, I enjoyed it, and found myself wanting to listen to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kellie
  • 02-28-17

Many twist, much turns

A very enjoyable book. It almost had my listening non-stop. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr. Jeannette Kavanagh
  • 07-01-16

I want my money back and my time back!

There were so many plot holes in this book it's amazing that it was made into a film. Well not really, given the low quality films around. When was the story set? If the son was born in 1987 and the book set in 2015 then Christine was 17 when she gave birth. Any hotel in Brighton is fitted with a smoke detector so. .I can't be bothered commenting on the second last scene. As for the ending. . what a cop out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KlaraJ
  • 05-18-15

I wanted to like it...I really did!

I really wanted to like this book. Unusual premise and thought this could be a really interesting story. Unfortunately the narrator slightly annoyed me as her tone was very monotone throughout the story. I kept wondering if she was bored reading it as that came through.
The story fell down halfway through and no matter how I tried I kept getting frustration with Christine, The ending was somewhat predictable and was wrapped up very quickly in comparison with the rest of the book. Ground Hog Day a few times throughout the book.
Would I recommend this book.....probably not.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 09-01-17

Loved it

Honestly probably one of the best books I have ever listened to! Found myself sitting in the car waiting for the end of a chapter

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  • manga_me_over
  • 05-05-17

intense

What a book, I really enjoyed it, the book was very enjoyable however some chapters were a little long but over all it was good. Without giving something away i can say that the last few chapters where super good and I wanted everyone to go away so I could continue listening to the book. I'd buy it again.

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  • Jeanette NORMAN
  • 09-20-16

Over long to no end

l gave up listening, was all too deadious and long winded. Leave it on the shelf.

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  • Tom
  • 07-06-16

A good premise though overall quite mundane.

The premise was good, and I completed the book before watching the film. Both were pretty average, though the book probably more so.

The narrative was really basic and tedious. Eg. (an example, to illustrate my point. Not from the book):

"Yes", I said.
"No", he said.
"Why not?", I said.
"Because you can't", he said.
"But I want to", I said.

I don't know whether that was intentional or not, but it gave me fatigue after a while. Too much non-emotive dialogue.

A singular narrative doesn't suit this kind of story. There were too many over-explanations; similar to when a character in a film gives you all the background information. Eg. (an example, to illustrate my point. Not from the book):

"What do you mean a spaceship came down from the sky and destroyed most of the planet and now our only hope for survival is to pray to the sun gods and sacrifice a newborn child?"

It was really well performed though.

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  • Amy Zang
  • 11-11-15

Thriller

Book has an engaging story line and paced enough to keep you wanting to listen more. The twist is an oldie but well executed. I enjoyed this book

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  • Corrin
  • 05-18-15

Meh....

A bit slow but with a good twist at the end. Not a memorable book and i found the narrator a bit monotone.