- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Bluemoose Books Ltd (31 Oct. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0956687695
- ISBN-13: 978-0956687692
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 513,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nod Paperback – Abridged, Audiobook, Box set
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The apocalypse comes in many forms, but none stranger than that of the chronic sleep deprivation that leads to mass psychosis in Adrian Barnes's audacious novel Nod (Bluemoose, £7.99). Paul is a misanthropic hack writing a non-fiction book about obscure words when the world is afflicted and the majority of citizens begin to hallucinate solipsistic realities that Paul, as a Sleeper and a wordsmith, can influence. Barnes employs this brilliant idea to explore the nature of perception, redemption, and personal and social catastrophe. Outstanding. --The Guardian
About the Author
Adrian Barnes was born in Blackpool, England but grew up in Canada. He teaches English at Selkirk College, British Columbia. He lives in Rossland, near Vancouver, where he lives with his wife, Charlene and two sons, Liam and Ethan
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Top Customer Reviews
Themes include the power of cults, suggestion and what people are capable of doing/being in extreme situations, thereby presenting us with the ugly sides of civilisation.
What I enjoyed most and found interesting is Paul's etymological expertise (which becomes very important to the plot)- the novel is peppered with old-fashioned, out-of-use words.
I wasn't completely satisfied with the book; I think I would have preferred a third-person account with some authorial explanation as to why it happened and what happens next. Although first-person does help to increase the tension, as it was, there were too many mysteries. It is, as far as I am aware, an original concept, but I wasn't quite convinced, maybe because there wasn't enough detail, so I wasn't as scared or disturbed as I think I was meant to be. Ultimately, I didn't care overly much about the character or the book, which certainly wasn't `unputdownable', but that may be just me! :)
I tried to like this book, but I just couldn't. The writing was pretentious and reeked of self-satisfaction (the multitude of obscure literary references being a particular bugbear, since it was as though the writer wanted to ram down our throats how well-read he was) and the characters were more platforms for the aforementioned ham-fisted philosophy concepts than actual, realised people with voices. Do not recommend.
Paul, an etymologist and misanthrope, charts the disintegration of society in Vancouver. He witnesses at close hand his wife deteriorate through a shared mysterious insomniac condition. Some of the descriptions are graphic to the point that made me want to skip over them. But I'm glad I didn't. Through his protagonist Paul, Adrian Barnes shines a harsh light and focuses powerful lens on the subjects of his journal - and doesn't turn away, even though the reader may want to at times.
This book is densely written in a way you would find in many literary novels rather than typical genre. And though at times can seem self-consciously wordy (with a number of obscure words, at least I had to mark a few out for definitions) and overwritten, that's the nature of the protagonist - the first person narrative where the author can be showy. But at its best the writing is superbly insightful, or at least has that verisimilitude. I don't know exactly what would be the effects of sleep deprivation over more than a few days, but the descriptions of paranoia and insanity seem about right. However, it may not satisfy SF fans who are looking for scientific explanations.
In all this is a novel that forces you to pay attention. It may make you uncomfortable but is compelling enough that you'll want to keep reading. If you like your fiction dark and dystopian then this is the book for you.
Though I gave it four stars above, I think 4.5 is more deserving.
It's a hard book to review, because I think it's good, and original, and it deserves readers, and I hope it will go on and get lots of them, but if I want to do a fair review then I have to mention the things which I found problematic, and this may spoil the experience for people who have not yet tried the book.
In a publishing universe where the end of the world seems to come round with monotonous regularity, Barnes has found an ingenious way of bringing about the collapse of society. Suddenly, without warning or explanation, almost all of humanity discovers that it is no longer able to sleep. In a matter of days, psychosis sets in and all the complex, delicate systems which hold our world together fall apart.
He has also found an interesting narrative voice to describe what is happening. His narrator, Paul, is cool, detached, distrustful, even before the world begins to go to hell. He is a man who has always mistrusted what lies beneath the surface, has always expected collapse, the onset of chaos. Paul's description of how the end of the world is felt in one small corner of one Canadian city, is all the more effective for its elegance and control, the way that the horror and pity and terror of the ending of everything is obliquely hinted at rather than being splurged all over the page. This voice, on its own, is enough to justify you spending a couple of hours with this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm not sure if I liked this book or not. The premise is certainly original (at least, I've never seen the idea before) and I enjoyed the first person perspective, I thought that... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Sarah Rivers
Amazing . Terrifying. Beautiful. Dark. Magical. Though provoking. Now I'm thinking about what the scenario, and I wonder...
It is movie material, definitely.
I was gripped from beginning to end. I found it disturbing and haunting and brilliant. If you love booked about a distopian world this is for you.Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is good. Wasn't sure what I was expecting but the nightmarish, hallucinatory craziness of a world without sleep is well done. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Edmund White
Fantastic book with new twist on apocalyptic themes, would be 5 stars were it not for the very abrupt ending!Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
If you like dark, post apocalyptic reads, this is for you. Was gripped right to the end. A good page-turnerPublished 11 days ago by Carol Young
Very interesting writer, will have to look out for more of his stuff, left me feeling very sad at the end and thinking on about the children and Paul for days after.Published 13 days ago by Patrick Murray
A richly lateral tale of the unexpected. Juxtaposing time and space through concepts and words... Always hinting at hidden meaning. Read morePublished 14 days ago by MikeeDee
This is a very nicely written book, which works well as the main character is all about words and language. Such a simple thing.... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Julie, Co. Meath, Ireland