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Before I Go to Sleep

by S.J. Watson

Christine wakes in a strange bed beside a man she does not recognise. In the bathroom she finds a photograph of him taped to the mirror, and beneath it the words ‘Your husband’.

Each day, Christine wakes knowing nothing of her life. Each night, her mind erases the day. But before she goes to sleep, she will recover fragments from her past, flashbacks to the accident that damaged her, and then—mercifully—she will forget.

Chilling, exquisitely crafted and compulsively readable, S. J. Watson’s debut is a psychological thriller of the highest order. It asks primary questions. Are there things best not remembered? Who are we if we do not know our own history? How do we love without memory?

Now a major motion film directed by Rowan Joffe (Brighton Rock), starring Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.

Winner, Crime Writers’ Association, John Creasey Dagger, UK, 2011 and Galaxy National Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year, UK, 2011.


“An exceptional thriller. It left my nerves jangling for hours after I finished the last page.”  Dennis Lehane

“Imagine drifting off every night knowing that your memories will be wiped away by morning. That’s the fate of Christine Lucas, whose bewildering internal world is rendered with chilling intimacy in this debut literary thriller. . . . You’ll stay up late reading until you know.” People (4 stars)

“As far as psychological thrillers go, you can’t get much more psychological, or more thrilling.”  The Age

“Has an impossible-to-put-down quality…Before I Go to Sleep is a psychological thriller of intricacy and mind-bending qualities.”  Herald Sun

“The summer’s single most suspenseful plot . . . . pure page-turner.”  New York Times

“It’s hard to think of a recent debut novel as original and ambitious in its premise – or as successful in its execution…instantly hooks you with its opening…a complex, well-thought-out, literary psychological thriller.’  New Zealand Herald

“Memories—real, false, and a bit of both—are at the heart of Watson’s haunting, twisted debut…. Watson handles what could have turned into a cheap narrative gimmick brilliantly, building to a chillingly unexpected climax.”  Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This mesmerizing, skillfully written debut novel works on multiple levels. It is both an affecting portrait of the profound impact of a debilitating illness and a pulse-pounding thriller whose outcome no one could predict.”  Booklist (starred review)

“An intriguingly fresh look at the amnesia-focused psychological thriller. . . . A captivating and highly suspenseful read, populated with believable characters who lead the reader through a taut, well-constructed plot.”  Library Journal

“Watson’s debut novel unwinds as a story that is both complicated and compellingly hypnotic. . . . Watson’s pitch–perfect writing propels the story to a frenzied climax that will haunt readers long after they’ve closed the cover on this remarkable book.”  Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A deeply unsettling debut that asks the most terrifying question – what do you have left when you lose yourself?”  Val McDermid

“A deft, perceptive exploration of a fascinating neurological condition, and a cracking good thriller.”  Lionel Shriver

“Brilliant in its pacing, profound in its central question, suspenseful on every page and satisfying in its thriller ending.”  Anita Shreve

About S.J. Watson

S. J. Watson’s debut novel, Before I Go To Sleep, has sold over four million copies and has been published in over 40 languages around the world. It has won several awards, including the UK’s Crime Novel of the Year (2011) and the Prix du Polar Prize for Best Crime Novel in France. He lives in London.

Other books by S.J. Watson


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