The Irish government conducts a strange penal experiment knows as the "Somnos Project". Four convicted criminals are placed in a coma for three months. But all experiment requires a control, [an additional experiment which has no connection to the others] and JJ O’Malley an innocent man, volunteers to be the “control”. Why… in his own words, “to take my mind off my mind for a while”.
The novel is composed of short narratives from JJ’s adopted father, his girlfriend, friends and neighbors. They all describe JJ as a brilliant and gentle person who suffers from bouts of depression and existential guilt.
Spoiler alert – the accounts of JJ’s life are interrupted by footnote cluttered with academic gobbledygook, some are quite lengthy and take up half a page. It was like reading two different authors, embroiled in the same book – quite distracting.
The book without the footnotes was appealing, though you only know JJ through the narratives; I would have like the author to include an interview with JJ.
Three thumbs up.