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bolt upright in bed

March 7, 2016

In Jackie Kay’s novel Trumpet I come upon the following sentence, as the narrator awakes from a bad dream: “I sit bolt upright in bed…”

No, come on. I mean, really. Nobody sits ‘bolt upright’ in bed after a bad dream. As a matter of fact I have already made fun of this cliché in print, in my 2015 children’s novel The Big Wish: “In books and films people always sit bolt upright in bed when they wake from a bad dream, but of course no one ever does that in real life. What you do is what I did – just lie there, feeling relieved it was only a dream, waiting for your heartbeat to slow down.”

Never mind; apart from that Trumpet was a good novel. It will be part of the last-ever paperbacks round-up I do for the Independent on Sunday, appearing this coming weekend (13th March). Because the print edition is closing down. That’s the final one of 135 round-ups, stretching over nearly ten years. I shall miss it. But at least I can read whatever I want from now on.

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