The Dreamers

The Dreamers

A Novel

Book - 2019 | First edition
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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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780812994162
0812994167
Characteristics: 303 pages ; 25 cm

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EljayJohnson
Jul 06, 2019

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."'

JessicaGma Jul 04, 2019

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.

e
engurney
Jun 17, 2019

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.

t
TripodSnowDog
Jun 15, 2019

The premise, the characters, the story... all fantastic. Dew me in so much I finished the book in a morning. Without spoiling, though, the ending was lackluster and kind of ruined the experience.

1
1MTWAIN60
Jun 12, 2019

Owes a nod to "Blindness" throughout and to Alice Munro at the end. Still a good read, interesting style.

j
jkroselawn
May 31, 2019

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.

g
GreenDog2006
May 27, 2019

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!

m
MamaLovesBooks
May 21, 2019

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.

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."

k
krsbozo
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.

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