The Dreamers

The Dreamers

A Novel

Book - 2019
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An ordinary town is transformed by a mysterious illness that triggers perpetual sleep in this mesmerizing novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Miracles .

"This book is stunning."--Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by V ogue, Huffpost, Real Simple, PopSugar, Literary Hub, BuzzFeed, Bustle and Vulture .

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)

"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
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812994162
Branch Call Number: WALKER K
Characteristics: 303 pages ; 25 cm


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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Apr 30, 2019

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."

Apr 30, 2019

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.

Hillsboro_JenniFerg Apr 14, 2019

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.

DPL_Graham Mar 26, 2019

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.

Mar 15, 2019

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.

Mar 12, 2019

The first thing I have to mention (because I've been obsessing over it): the COLONS. There's. So. Many. It was the first thing I noticed, and soon it became difficult not to be distracted by them. On some pages there were 3-5 used to focus in on a concept or character. I can understand that they are used with the intention of creating a unique authored voice, but it was hard to ignore.
I will say that the concept was interesting. I love dreams, and the novel definitely took on a dream-like tone in its weaving between different characters and the slow development of the virus. However, I agree with other reviewers' posts that it concludes very open-ended; it is definitely intended to make the reader ponder in an existential or philosophical way. All in all, a pretty good fiction read that I am still on the fence about recommending to others. And that's the tea.

Mar 04, 2019

Not as good as previous book, The Age of Miracles which I loved. This one was disjointed and did not wrap up the several story lines by the ending. Left the reader feeling like saying, "That's it?" Except for a few bright spots it was pretty deary reading. Still, I look forward to her next book.

Feb 27, 2019

I give this a solid middle-of-the-road rating. Nothing mind blowing. I liked the dreamy, lilting prose. There was a whole lot of middle to the plot and not enough ending. So many details left hanging at the end. (What was the significance of the lake? What about the mom of the two little girl's belongings?) I think that may have been by design though... since often times in dreams we are left with many unexplained details and we have to decide which ones are real and which are not. Read it if you like right-brained science fiction.

TSCPL_Cadie Feb 12, 2019

Could not put this down. I loved Age of Miracles and I loved The Dreamers. My only complaint is that Karen Thompson Walker can not spit books out fast enough! Totally worth the wait though. I just finished it and want to read it all over again.

So many stories from so many characters, and yet I found myself relating to each of them. Their voices all so authentic in a time of chaos and fear. But also, how we all just live in those times. One foot in front of the other. Hoping things will take a turn for the best. Lucky for us, they usually do.

KCLSRachelW Feb 01, 2019

Beautiful, lyrical, gentle dystopian fiction.

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