Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sleeping With Nikki

by Dessa

I think it's only fair to preface this review with the statement that I think I'm in love with Dessa, and therefore may be more than a little biased in appraising her work.  She does have a lot going for her - she's beautiful, she's one of the best rappers in the business when she cuts loose, but is also an enormously talented singer with a beautiful voice, is a key member of the Doomtree collective, of whom I'm a huge fan, and she's a talented writer, as shown with this booklet, and her previous volume of poetry, Spiral Bound.

Sleeping With Nikki is a small (3.5 by 4.5") limited edition booklet that was available for people who preordered her new album Castor, The Twin(which is fantastic - more on that soon).  It's a thirty-two page prose story that helps reveal Dessa's penchant for writing in a different way.

Alex is a man who has never had a proper night's sleep his whole life.  He doesn't know this - it's not until his new girlfriend Nikki starts sleeping over that it is revealed to him that he's 'doing it wrong'.  As their relationship unfolds, and as the consequence of an argument sparked by a documentary about Second World War submarines, Alex discovers how to fall asleep.

This is a decent story, and it's well-written.  Were it to show up in an issue of McSweeney's, I would never question its presence.  Dessa has an ear for dialogue, and has peppered the story with interesting little moments, such as when Alex finds his postman drunk at a bar, and feels that the moment is somehow transgressive.  It's good stuff.  I would love to read a collection of short stories by her some day.

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