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I didn’t have high expectations for this book but struggled to put it down! I adored the slightly poetic writing style that allows all the character interactions to be meaningful. Despite being published in 2019, this book had many similarities to what is happening in 2020. A drawback of this novel is that it is hard to foster a deep connection with the characters. The author does not go into detail when it comes to many of their motives. This is somewhat understandable as it is a shorter story and I believe the author wanted to put more emphasis on how the apocalyptic situation affected the community as a whole. Overall, the book was a fun read but the ending felt rushed. 4.5/5 Stars @blissful_bookworm of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
There is an uncanny familiarity of fear, panic, questions and frustration as the story of a mysterious virus unfolds. I checked the publishing date (2019) and marveled at Walker's ability to describe the feelings and actions of various people during a large scale quarantine. Occasionally Walker will wax philosophic, but it these portions blend into the feel of the story--a dreamy inward-focusing of the mind, not bound in time and open to the existence of many timelines. But do not think this book is ethereal; no, it moves quickly forward, hooking me into every following chapter.
I really liked this book. Can't believe this was written before COVID and what a book to read during COVID. Aside from this strange disease taking over the Town, I was actively engaged in all the characters, each one so very different. There are parts that leave you hanging but overall I enjoyed this book a lot and it certainly kept me engaged.
Love Walker's prose, how it dreamily pulls you in. Probably not the best sort of read to read during a pandemic, but I couldn't put it down.
I read The Dreamers back in May while we were still on stay-at-home orders, and while it wasn't a true suspense novel, I couldn't put it down! Finished in about 24 hours due to interesting comparisons with our current state, beautiful writing and intriguing characters!
An unknown virus appears in a small, peaceful college town in California, wreaking havoc in the community. The virus is airborne, highly contagious, and makes its victims fall asleep. Told from the perspective of multiple intersecting characters, this book is highly relatable in the time of COVID-19.
Despite its terrifying premise (when college students begin falling into an unending sleep, an entire town finds itself in lockdown as the death toll starts to climb), The Dreamers is a very quiet novel. Walker's ethereal prose makes readers feel like they are in a dream themselves, viewing the action through a thick haze. While the characters' terror is palpable, this can make it hard to really connect with them. However, I still enjoyed the overall experience. Readers looking for a tight plot and clear answers are likely to be disappointed, but fans of short stories and atmospheric literary fiction should give The Dreamers a try.
This book follows the story of a sleeping sickness which shuts down a college town, and the quarantine the town goes under to keep it contained. I can’t give a proper summary without spoilers, but just a heads up the story is told from many viewpoints! There is a sense of unease throughout, once it draws you in it will keep you on edge and ready to keep reading!
For me this book reads like a sketch--a set of ideas--some of which might have made an outstanding young adult novel, and some of which are certainly the beginnings of powerful foundations for an adult audience (themes of fierce parental love, explorations of the concept of time). Sadly though this book just glides along, never becoming more than a subtly interesting set of sketches. I don't always need a book to be a great intellectual challenge (this one isn't) and I don't always need incredibly deep characterization (it's not here), but a novel does need to make a claim on a reader and so it needs to do some work, somewhere. If you're looking for a light read that touches on ideas of human behavior during epidemics or ideas about how time works you may enjoy this novel, but if you are truly fascinated by either of those topics, reading this book will feel like ordering steak and getting a bag of Funyuns instead.
Sometimes a book is just a book. This just feels like a book I read and can talk about casually, but my investment in it quickly dwindled because of the hollow characterizations and the surface-level philosophy behind it, and it felt like the plot had no rising action.
Luke warm read. I started reading it but then found other books to read so I put this one down. If I can't find anything else to read may pick it up again. Yawn.
This book seemed a little bit like a knockoff of Stephen's Kings "Sleeping Beauties". However, there wasn't really much of a plot in this book. Also, there were so many characters it was hard to become engaged with any of them. I provided an extra half star because of a surprise at the uncommon ending.
I loved Walker's Age of Miracles, and this didn't quite match that, but was quite good nevertheless. While well written and compelling, it slightly lacked emotional entry for me.
In a small college town in California, a student falls asleep and can't be awakened. Then another succumbs, then a dozen more, then hundreds of the town's residents are asleep for days, weeks, months. And all of these sleepers are dreaming - vivid, otherwordly, relentless dreams. We follow the lives and reactions of several left awake: Mei, the quiet roommate of the first victim; a pair of college profs and their newborn; two little girls virtually orphaned when their off-the-grid, survivalist father falls, etc. Walker's genius is her matter-of-fact approach as these people react to and try to live in their new reality. What becomes important and what falls to the wayside? In writing what is clearly a metaphor for a number of issues confronting us today, Walker gives us this best line when one of the few victims awakens: '"You've been unconscious for four days," a psychiatrist tells him, to which comes his devastating reply, "It's been a lot longer than that."'
A variation on a theme for post apocalyptic tales - not as dramatic as one would be if many people died, but sort of realistic as only so many were affected, and the end was a bit balloon losing its air (pfffftttt and done). I prefer "Station Nine" or even the recent "The Book of M" for a more creepy, ongoing story with more fleshed out characters.
Finished this over the course of a weekend and found it to be quick, illustrative and fun to read. I felt the characters could have been a little more developed and the mysterious illness explained a bit more in the end. The conclusion was resolute but a bit abrupt in it's finality. I agree that it may have worked better as a short story but interesting premise never the less.
The premise, the characters, the story... all fantastic. Drew me in so much I finished the book in a morning. Without spoiling, though, the ending was lackluster and kind of ruined the experience.
Owes a nod to "Blindness" throughout and to Alice Munro at the end. Still a good read, interesting style.
There are so many better books, and so little time. For me, there was not enough character development in this one to enable me to care about any of these people. This should have been a short story, but it was stretched out far too long. Distracting writing style, including spelling out Freudian interpretations of events, just in case the reader is too clueless to make the connection without her assistance. I do not recommend.
I'm a sucker for apocalyptic fiction and for medical mysteries, and this is a fine example of both. The entire book has a dreamlike feel - the illness arrives, spreads, and has varying effects on students and townspeople. Those stricken may or may not recover and may or may not experience strange dreams which may or may not be prophetic. Beautiful writing, believable characters I cared about. For me, Walker's The Age of Miracles was a little stronger - it's one of my absolute favorite apocalyptic novels; if you haven't read it, please do - but The Dreamers is very good. I'm really looking forward to whatever she writes next!
Not a true sci-fi, more realistic fiction - not too far off from the communities today that are susceptible to measles. We read this in my book club and everyone enjoyed it - though we all thought the ending fizzled out. A true sci-fi book would have had an X-Files ending..., no? The character development, and the characters themselves were interesting and well thought out. I especially enjoyed the story-lines of the conspiracy-theorist father and his two young survivalist daughters as well as the pair of college students who took it upon themselves to try to help their community. Overall a great read that at times will suck you in, and others will give you a moment to pause in wonder.
A quiet, thoughtful novel about a community where an infectious disease causes sufferers to fall into a deep sleep. For fans of titles like "Station Eleven."
I would say that this book is a science fiction story about a California mountain town beset with an infectious disease that causes people to fall asleep, and sometimes never wake up. The government's response seems accurate. A fast and interesting read.
First of all, this is a well-written novel by Karen Thompson Walker. She has a beautiful way of describing things and had me hooked from the very beginning. However, I wouldn't consider it a terribly happy story; it's a bit darker than what I would typically read, but if you're into dark stuff it will likely be mild for you. I gave it four stars because, like I said, it was beautifully written, however, I was a little disappointed about the ending. It wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped.
It started in a dorm room in a sleepy California mountain town with one road in and one road out. Students slowly started to fall asleep and fail to return to full consciousness. They may make movement, murmurs, eyes moving in deep and rapid sleep, but the disease was keeping them under. Like any good virus, the sleep started to spread from person to person until the whole town in under army quarantine.
The Dreamers is an easy to read, short chaptered, multi-character narrative on the infection as it takes over the town. We watch from the perspective of college students, kids whose parents have fallen asleep, and nurses trapped in quarantine hospitals. Will the disease ever be cured? Will it take over the world? Instead of a “The Walking Dead” Walker imagines “The Sleeping Dead.” While the action corresponds to the analogy the story still drew me in and held my attention to the end.
At first I was impressed with the drift of story about people, starting with college students, who mysteriously fell into a deep sleep or dream state. All the ingredients for an interesting novel were there but just not developed to where I was thoroughly engaged. The exploration of dreaming lacked as did the relationships of students or family members. Had potential but ultimately disappointing.