Book Review: Sleep Donation

sleepdonationRead for: I like Karen Russell

Rating: 4.5/5

This was a pretty great little novella. I loved the notion of an insomnia epidemic that kills people by keeping them wide awake for long stretches of time. It’s creepily plausible. To deal with the people unable to sleep doctors have found a way to collect sleep donations from those not afflicted by the insomnia epidemic, much the way healthy people can donate blood to help those in need of transfusion. In the same way blood donations can be tainted, sleep donations can also be tainted. Slumber Corps collects a sleep donation from a mysterious donor that doctors soon learn has been contaminated by a nightmare, and it is too late to keep it from be distributed to those sick with insomnia. I won’t give anything away because this is a very short novella, but I will say that the world building, particularly the nighttime world where people drink cocktails to either make them sleep or keep them awake, was really neat. The ending was a bit abrupt, but I probably felt this way because, like many of her other short stories, I wish this book just went on and on forever. Too bad it wasn’t developed into a full fledged novel!

This book is only available as an ebook or audio book from recently launched Atavist Books. I wish I had a hard copy, but it is so short I was able to read it on my iPhone in about an hour. Karen Russell is so creative it kinda hurts my brain.


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