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Insomnia Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1995

3.8 out of 5 stars 709 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Celestial forces of good and evil wage an apocalyptic war in a small Maine town in this 14-week PW bestseller.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA?Ralph Roberts has been waking earlier and earlier every night for weeks, and the forgetfulness and weariness caused by sleep deprivation are starting to affect him. When he begins to see brilliant auras around people and objects, his concern grows. As his nights become shorter, his visions become more terrifying, and yet more real. Strange forces are maneuvering for power in Derry, Maine, and somehow Ralph is a part of the conflict. Well-read students will note references to Greek mythology, the Bible, and to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (Houghton, 1967) interspersed with modern cultural allusions. King's forte, however, is characterization, and there is no shortage of it here. Good guys and evil are well developed, with a depth that makes them believable. Although Ralph is clearly identified as a septuagenarian, he is never stodgy or prudish, and will appeal to teens. Some of King's more recent novels, such as Gerald's Game (1992), have been disappointing, but Insomnia is closer to It (1987) and Needful Things (1992, all Viking) in its suspense and entertainment potential. A good return trip to Derry, Maine.?Robin Deffendall, Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, VA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1 edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451184963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451184962
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (709 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are many people for whom the book "Insomnia" will serve as a cure for the titular condition. It's an 800 page book that takes about 150 pages to start making sense -- the first quarter of the book is all strange goings-on with no exposition.
Our hero, an old man with a dying wife, begins loosing sleep and (he thinks) hallucinating. He can see auras around people, fields of light that change according to their mood and health and terminate in a long "balloon-string," their soul. And if that's not strange enough, he starts seeing three little bald men dressed as surgeons, who go around snipping people's strings.
It's all very psychedelic and intriguing, but I can see someone giving up on the book before it really gets rolling. Which would be a shame, because the plot kicks in around page 150 and it's a heck of a ride, all the more enjoyable if you don't know what's coming.
Suffice to say that this is the multiverse-hopping, cosmic guru King of The Stand and It, not the bare-bones King of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Running Man (I like 'em both, if you were wondering). Insomnia is actually a better read than both The Stand and It, because it is more closely tied into the world as we know it. Most importantly, the characters are complex and believable, truly people worth knowing.
So if you've got the attention span and the physical strength to lift this book, definitely pick it up. It's a stone trip.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This has to be one of King's most misunderstood and underappreciated works. When I first read this in 1994, I was in my early twenties and didn't really connect with the older characters of this book. Now in my thirties, and not being as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I recently dusted off my hardcover and re-read this.
In my opinion this has to rank among the best King has done. Do not be fooled into thinking there is a lengthy diatribe about the abortion issue. King populates both sides of the argument with good and bad people. If anything, King's message is probably "leave it alone" which I guess can be interpreted that he supports women's choice, but he really doesn't browbeat his opinions through his book (unlike say Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code).
I do think you have to be of a certain age to connect with the characters. Younger readers may not appreciate all the nuances regarding growing old that King conveys in this book.
More importantly, though, my second reading has made me realize how connected this book is with The Dark Tower series King is finishing this year. This might well be considered an ancillary Dark Tower book, as The Talisman, Black House, The Stand and now 'Salem's Lot (for Father Callahan) are.
Give this book a read. It isn't horror per se, as most of King's books aren't in the strictest definition of the horror genre. It is a well written book populated with characters you will care about for the duration of the book (and after!).
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By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ralph Roberts, now there's a name I'll remember. We've been through a lot, Robert and I (oh, around 787 pages, I'd say), and I don't regret one moment. Sure, the first 200 pages aren't your typical Stephen King book, but I don't see this story NOT having those pages! Mr. King actually took a long time to set up his characters, and with good reason: you end up giving a damn about them, you feel their joy and echo their sorrow. But after around 200 pages, ahh, that's where the adventure really begins, when Ralph Roberts, who has been sleeping less and less, starts to see auras around everything. Just when you think that you have it pretty much figuered out, Mr. King throws you a nice curve ball and surprises you again. Not really a horror book, but an amazing read. Oh, and if you've read King's Dark Tower series, you are in for a special treat! Oh, and don't listen to the one star reviews, they must not of had the patience to get through the first 200 pages. 4 and a half stars!!
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Format: Hardcover
When I was younger, I saw a big, inflated ad for IT. The green claw grasping through the sewer grating grabbed my curiosity and squeezed. I asked for, and received, it for Christmas (I was twelve, how's that for a children's story?). I loved the thing.
The next Christmas, I got everything Stephen King had ever published. Half of it was great. Half of it could have lured flies from a three-day-old corpse. Every time he wrote something, I got it for Christmas. After the astonishingly bad Tommyknockers I stopped reading them. Eventually, my family noticed, and stopped buying them for me. A few years later, he published Desperation and The Regulators at the same time. They both sounded interesting, but I couldn't bring myself to buy them. I mean, after all, TOMMYKNOCKERS!! A few weeks ago, I saw hardback copies of Desperation and The Regulators in the overstock bin at Waldenbooks for under $5.00 each. Well, I bought 'em, read 'em, and loved 'em. So I went ahead and read Insomnia.
This book is not for everyone. There is character development out the wazoo, and some people cannot handle quite that much. After all, some people thought Michael Mann's film Heat was too long. About 200 - 250 pages goes by before the main plot kicks in. I know what you're thinking, "Michael Moorcock could tell the history of the multiverse in 250 pages." Well, Michael Moorcock never had characters that felt this real.
Face it, Stephen King is not successful because of his fast-paced, plot-driven narratives. Stephen King is successful, because of the details, and characters so thought out, you forget they're not real.
I liked it a lot.
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