Chapter 1: Falling Water


















































A New York Times Notable Book.

A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000.


"The truth is not a crystal that can be slipped into one's pocket, but an endless river into which one falls headlong."

-- Robert Musil


"Captures perfectly the myriad stages of fear, discovery and elation that mark one's first sexual experience... Beller paints a hauntingly accurate portrait of a love affair laced with grown-up complications."

--New York Times Book Review

"Detail and emotion are rendered with astonishing precision and clarity. Readers of Carver and Roth will not only be satisfied by this book, they'll be thrilled."

--Dear Reader, Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi


"Beller is a master of the profound and fatal flaw... poetry is everywhere."

--Los Angeles Times


"Smart and funny. Beller has an admirable eye for detail, and a cutting observational wit."

-- Deborah Picker, L.A. Weekly


"A frank, likeable book with an appealing central character."

--Janet Maslin, The New York Times


"Beller is writing in a genre - the guy-coming-of-age - that has been around for a while. But in his modest way he changes the rules."

--Sarah Kerr, Vogue

"Featuring a New York that, like Kundera's Prague, is a vast hive of seductions and betrayals, Beller's carefully crafted debut novel charts the coming-of-age of Alex Fader.... Beller has the true novelist's knack for weaving together the disparate threads of postmodern urban existence into convincing studies of character. The vignettes of Alex's life coalesce into a moving portrait of a young man intuitively seeking a place he can call home."

--Publishers Weekly


"Fresh, sophisticated, and most of all utterly readable."

--Eva Hoffman


"This is a book that is surprised by surprise. It is also a work of great optimism and ambition."

--Elizabeth Wurtzel


"Hits a pitch of anguish so leavened by humour as to keep the reader off guard in a satisfying if disturbing way."

--San Francisco Chronicle



Publisher's Comments:

"Writing with the sparkling wit and insight of his highly praised debut, Seduction Theory ("Brilliantly captures the great expectations and recurring ambivalence of youth." New York Times), Thomas Beller continues to plumb the adventures of his hero, Alex Fader, a youthful existentialist and sensualist with an insatiable appetite for trouble. The Sleep-Over Artist is an account of critical stages in Alex's life, mapping his progress from youthful delinquent to filmmaker whose career begins when he makes a documentary film exposing the prep school from which he has been expelled. Alex longs for the taste of family life that the early death of his father has denied him. As a young boy he sleeps over at his friends' houses and ingratiates himself with their families; as a young man he extends his sleep-overs to the lives of women, culminating in the ultimate sleep-over – an affair in England with a glamorous, slightly older woman, the mother of a young boy. Beller has a pitch-perfect ear for emotional nuance and a microscopic eye for rendering the wordless moments when a relationship catches fire and all too often begins to falter. The high-wire tension that electrifies The Sleep-Over Artist is Beller's ingenious portrait of a young man who longs to disappear and belong all at the same time."