Title: The Dreamers
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House 2019
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Library Love; Popsugar - College Campus; Alphabet Soup - W
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?
I had heard so many great things about this book, but didn’t really know what to expect. What I got was a beautiful story of life past and present. The book is about a mysterious dreaming illness that infects a small town in California, but really that’s just a plot device. We focus on a few different families and see how they react to the illness and then later how some of them react to waking back up. I loved Sara and Libby'‘s story as well as Annie and Ben. We get such interesting characters packed into very little space. When I first started reading, I thought the quick cuts and almost unfinished passage would bother me, but instead they feel more like dreams. There is a stream of consciousness quality to the writing that I actually really enjoy. After reading this one, I want to pick up Walker’s previous work: The Age of Miracles.
Next up on the TBR pile: