Nod: A Novel – Adrian Barnes

I’m one of those people that really appreciates a full eight hours of sleep. When I have a bad night, everyone suffers the next day. I become grumpy and impatient – I’m sure it’s no fun to be around me! So imagine if the whole world suddenly became insomniac. How quickly would society break down? The answer is very quickly.

Welcome to Nod, a world where only one in every thousand can sleep.

A depressing choice for a holiday read this might be, but I found myself oddly drawn to the plight of the narrator. Paul, a sleeper and a writer, records his experiences in this new world of chaos, while trying to survive long enough to outlive the zombie-like awakened.

Although a quick read, Paul’s inflated ego and love of etymology make the writing pretentious at times and leads to a number of eye-rolling moments. Who, I wonder, is he trying to impress here at the end of the world? But this narration suits the character, however insufferable. And the book isn’t badly written. Indeed, there are some unforgettable scenes, including a horrifying half hallucination, where Paul looks upon a beach swarming with bodies, all suffering from weeks without sleep. In fact the whole tone of the book is so oppressive and uncomfortable, it keeps the reader on edge, giving an idea of what it must be like for those poor sleep deprived souls.

Apocalyptic and dystopian novels often end in ambiguity and Nod is no exception, but I didn’t particularly care what would happen either way. So I suppose this means I wasn’t all that invested in Nod, but on the whole I still think it was worth a few hours of my reading time.

Get the book by clicking on the picture below…

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