The British press heaped praise upon the book. ‘Almost too beautiful a writer… the footprint of Proust visible on every page’, wrote the Financial Times. The Independent calls the book a ‘beautiful unorthodox novel of the Great War’ and extols ‘Mortier’s sumptuous verbal gifts’. For Newbooks it is simply ‘one of the finest war stories ever written’.
Together with ‘While the Gods Were Sleeping’, Pushkin Press has reissued three of Erwin Mortier’s earlier novels: ‘Marcel’, ‘My Fellow Skin’ and ‘Shutterspeed’. Later follows ‘Stammered Song Book’, an autobiographical account about the author’s mother, who becomes a victim of Alzheimer's disease.