Book Corner 3/28/19 Karen Thompson Walker’s The Dreamers: A Novel
The Dreamers: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker. Random House. Jan. 15, 2019.
Amazon blurb: NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE • An ordinary town
is transformed by a mysterious illness that triggers perpetual sleep in this
mesmerizing novel from the bestselling author of The Age of Miracles.
“This book is stunning.”—Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.
Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?
Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life—if only we are awakened to them.
Praise for The Dreamers
“Walker’s roving fictive eye by turns probes characters’ innermost feelings and zooms out to coolly parse topics like reality versus delusion. . . . [It has] the perfect ambiguous frame for a tense and layered plot.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“[Walker’s] gripping, provocative novel should come with a warning: may cause insomnia.”—People (Book of the Week)
“Powerful and moving . . . written with symphonic sweep.”—The New York Times Book Review
“2019’s first must-read novel . . . Alternately terrifying and moving . . . The Dreamers is overflowing with humanity.”—Jezebel
“The Dreamers is a startling, beautiful portrait of a community in peril. . . . This is an exquisite work of intimacy. Walker’s sentences are smooth, emotionally arresting—of a true, ethereal beauty. . . . This book achieves [a] dazzling, aching humanity.”—Entertainment Weekly
My Review: In a small town an epidemic is growing. It starts in the local college with Mei’s snobbish roommate stumbling in, falling asleep, and not waking. Soon, more college students come down with it. The college is quarantined on that floor. As the days go by, more fall sick. A father and his team are sent to take care of some of the sick’s things. Being a survivalist, he rushes home and prepares his young daughters for the end of the world. Days after, he falls sick and they call for an ambulance while hiding out in the back of the property. They stay together, taking care of the cats, and wondering if the sickness will take them. Next door, new parents struggle with taking care of their newborn. When the hospital discovers the infant’s milk is contaminated, they begin testing the baby at the house every morning. Elsewhere, Mei and the other college students escape, spreading the disease as they go. She and a boy hide out at a house she babysat in. When they realize that others need their help, they go volunteer to help with the sick. The sisters continue to take care of the cats and collect dogs from around the neighborhood as well. When the youngest falls sick, the other calls for help for her as well, wondering if she’ll be next. The mother next door falls to sleep, and the father is left alone with the baby until she, too, succumbs to the illness. By now 90% of the population is ill and the government has cordoned off the town. Will the town be burned down as another was once in history?
This was an awesome book! The characters are believable; and you can’t help but root for them in this growing horror. Definitely going to read more of this author!