These days, science doesn’t take much interest in dreams.
Title: The Dreamers
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Page Count: 303 pages
Rating: ★ ★ ★.5
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 26, 2019
Buy It: Chapters Indigo
In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl 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 who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are cancelled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.
Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?
College students are dropping into sleep. Deep sleep. The “I can’t wake them up” sleep state. However they seem to have brain activity. As more and more students drop into this state the city panics, trying to figure out what is happening and why. The college is quarantined and a state of duress unravels.
The synopsis of this book instantly had me. A fiction book with sci-fi vibes is something I will always gravitate to. I felt as if I was floating above these characters with a dreamy feel, watching the whole story unfold. I was walking through fog trying to reach these characters and I loved it. The 3rd person writing really distances you from each character enough to see snippets of what they’re experiences. Although I did not feel connected to any one character I did feel connected to them all through the dream-like feeling.
I also found it a bit more haunting than I normally would because I read it in a hospital setting. I wasn’t feeling the greatest and grabbed this as I went to see the doc. I mean did you expect something different from a bookworm? I read the whole thing while in the waiting room. That environment definitely added to the atmosphere in this story.
My only qualm was that the ending was a bit ambiguous but I kind of like that, we don’t really know the meaning behind the dreamlike state they were in because we wouldn’t know in real life. This mirrors the dream-like state in our world that cannot be explained – comas.
There’s a lot of mixed reviews on this book because of people’s interests. You just have to see for yourself if you like it, don’t listen to anyone else. Read it! See for yourself. I really enjoyed it. It’s a great pick for a book club, there’s lots to discuss!
**Thank you Penguin Canada for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review, I read it in a single sitting!**