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Review: The Dreamers

The Dreamers book cover

Title: The Dreamers
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Genre: Literary Fiction, Dystopian
Page Count: 320
Published by: Random House
Date Published: January 15, 2019
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


It starts on the campus in a small California college town, where a first year student falls asleep and cannot be woken by her roommate, the paramedics, or doctors. Then another falls into this deep dream sleep … and another. No one can be woken, no one knows what this is or why it is spreading, but one thing is for certain – these dreamers have never-before-seen levels of brain activity. What are these dreamers dreaming?

Overall Thoughts

While reading a book about an epidemic during a global pandemic might not have been the brightest idea, I actually really enjoyed this novel! I listened to it as an audiobook and have to say, even though this uncannily mirrors the stressful events of our current situation – mask wearing, hoard shopping, hysteria, suspicion and government incompetence – Karen’s lyrical sentence composition and the narrator’s vocal talent actually made for a calming read. Fantastic observations on the human condition at its best and worst, pitch perfect pacing, and a genuine sense of urgency kept me on the edge of my seat interested. Told through multiple POV and bouncing from character to character quickly didn’t allow much overall character progression or attachment, but this wasn’t necessary to form the needed immediacy – really the characters were just the conduits through which we observe this virus … which felt like a sinister main character haunting each page. Thought provoking, jarring, and startlingly foretelling of the 2020 pandemic to come, this is one hypnotic read that makes you think … and maybe too much … about where that line between reality and dreams really exists.

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