Several of my colleagues recommended this book to me, and it’s interesting description definitely held some appeal. I still feel slightly dazzled after reading it, still not knowing whether I loved it or thought it was good but not great or what. It confused the hell out of me – but one thing is for sure, it was very very well done with some very cleverly crafted moments.
Dawn breaks and no one in the world has slept the night before. Or almost no one. A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand, can still sleep, and they’ve all shared the same mysterious dream. A handful of silent children can still sleep as well, but what they’re dreaming remains a mystery. Global panic ensues. A medical fact: after six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis sets in. After four weeks, the body dies. In the interim, a bizarre new world arises and swallows the old one whole. A world called Nod.
Paul, a writer of books of etymology, is the man we follow through this strange, practically apocalyptic world. It’s difficult to say much more about the plot, as giving anything away just ruins the actual reading of it, so instead I want to talk about what it was that makes part of me think of this book as just brilliant, and another part not so convinced.
I couldn’t keep focus throughout the whole novel, perhaps due to the fact that I read it in one day, but it couldn’t keep my attention for some reason. The setting, however, was brilliant done and such a clever idea – although I should warn you, don’t expect any explanations.
What I think made me love this book were the observations. It’s littered with comments about the world, life, people and more. There were so many good commentaries, including poignant ones such as how we cry at single deaths as they feel more personal, yet we don’t cry at things like 200 dead from an EQ in the paper unless we know the area/people well.
Makes you think, at least.
So instead of me fumbling around to make this book sound better than I’m making it out, I’ve picked out two quotes that I liked so much I wrote them down.
“Hair and nails growing, skin slowly shedding. We were ridiculous factories, producing smells and oils and shit and piss. Better things went into us than ever came out.”
“There’s a point of obesity where, like it or not, whatever your other personal achievements or qualities, all you are is ‘The Fat Man’ or ‘The Fat Lady’. The world is a gawking four-year-old.”
What made me love this book even more, strangely enough, is the author’s personal story of discovering he has terminal cancer just as this book was being published. As soon as you read this book, I highly recommend reading that author’s note and the similarities and conclusions we draws between his own life and his book. Really, truly, incredible.
So I suppose all I can really say is that if you’re a fan of sci-fi-esque books, maybe even dystopians as this reads more like a prequel to a dystopian world, then you should really give it a try. If you read the blurb and like the sound of it, go for it. It’s not something I think I would have picked up had I not been intrigued by the blurb, but it seems people either love it or hate it or, the majority it seems, are on the fence like me.