I always found it more difficult to get into Dixon’s story collections than his novels. At first, I am unable to read more than one story per day. Eventually, I really get into the books and try to read them in their entirety in a day because it feels like I have acquired the ability to enjoy more than one story in one sitting and if I don’t take advantage of this ability, I will lose it and go back to only being able to read one story per day. Since I don’t like reading story collections that way, I try to devour the entire book in one sitting if possible.
I checked his collection, Sleep, out from the library about 8 months ago. I was only able to get through a couple of stories before returning it because I had banned myself from reading adult fiction books to prepare for the endeavor of writing a novel for children. After finishing the novel, I checked the book out from the library again. I read a few stories here and there and it took me a while to gain the ability to enjoy more than one story per day. But I achieved the ability today and finished the book.
Regarding Dixon’s writing, he often uses protagonists who obsess over every decision and detail of their past, present, and futures. Obsessing about the future stands out in particular because the characters often consider the many ways in which events can occur in their lives and the stories include their rapidly changing speculations. I see this as a commentary on how every person on this planet is a storyteller because we all speculate about our futures, although perhaps not to the same extent as Dixon’s protagonists. This sort of speculation is very prominent in Sleep, or at least in the first fourth of the book or so.
Bradley Sands, author of Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You and editor of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens