In 1987, when Bryan Parys was four years old, his father Alfred pressed record on a tape player next to his hospital bed. He began leaving messages for his wife, three children, and anyone who wanted to know why his terminal cancer at age thirty-eight wouldn't shake his faith. "If God told me to walk into a fiery furnace, I'd do it," he said, perhaps knowing that he would not walk back out.
In Wake, Sleeper, Parys tries to understand his father's deathbed fire in the context of a Christian childhood that taught him about eternity. Unspoken feelings of doubt lead Parys toward an inner life where he is allowed to question, provoke, and search for beauty in the void of grief.
Through the lens of his upbringing in a Christian school and the church that met in the school gymnasium, that inner voice emerges in Wake, Sleeper. The grief of his past contrasts with the tension of his search to fit in, told as a lyrical and often humorous meditation on time.