- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Random House (January 15, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812994167
- ISBN-13: 978-0812994162
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 212 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dreamers: A Novel Hardcover – January 15, 2019
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From the Publisher
“The Dreamers is harrowing, riveting, profoundly moving, and beautifully written. In a word, this book is stunning.”—Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
“Walker’s roving fictive eye by turns probes characters’ innermost feelings and zooms out to coolly parse topics like reality versus delusion. . . . [It has] the perfect ambiguous frame for a tense and layered plot.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“[Walker’s] gripping, provocative novel should come with a warning: may cause insomnia.”—People (Book of the Week)
“Powerful and moving . . . written with symphonic sweep.”—The New York Times Book Review
“2019’s first must-read novel . . . Alternately terrifying and moving . . . The Dreamers is overflowing with humanity.”—Jezebel
“The Dreamers is a startling, beautiful portrait of a community in peril. . . . This is an exquisite work of intimacy. Walker’s sentences are smooth, emotionally arresting—of a true, ethereal beauty. . . . This book achieves [a] dazzling, aching humanity.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Walker offers a novel bursting with ideas, probing the scary and tantalizing possibilities at the edges of our existence.”—USA Today
“In The Dreamers, Karen Thompson Walker’s second novel, dreams are . . . both more dangerous and more powerful than the Greeks could have ever imagined. . . . Walker uses evocative language to describe the almost bewitching nature of contagion.”—The Washington Post
“Walker writes beautifully about the things that define how a society either endures or collapses in crisis, a theme that may never have been more timely than it is now.”—Minneapolis StarTribune
“[An] imaginative, disturbing, and ultimately spellbinding narrative, which asks provocative questions about our concepts of time and connection, and the bounds of possibility for life on earth.”—Vogue
“You’ll be mesmerized by this well-constructed, vividly drawn exploration of the concept of dreams versus reality.”—Marie Claire
“With mellifluous prose, Walker traces victims’ experiences (awake and asleep), along with how their family members, friends, and doctors respond to the crisis.”—Real Simple
“The Dreamers is a beautifully written novel that is powerful, thoughtful, and entirely original.”—PopSugar
“Richly imaginative and quietly devastating . . . Walker jolts the narrative with surprising twists, ensuring it keeps its energy until the end. This is a skillful, complex, and thoroughly satisfying novel about a community in peril.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Frighteningly powerful, beautiful, and uncanny, The Dreamers is a love story and also a horror story—a symphonic achievement, alternating intimate moments with a panoramic capture of a crisis in progress.”—Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove
About the Author
Karen Thompson Walker is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Age of Miracles, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of the year by People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Financial Times, among others. Born and raised in San Diego, Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She lives with her husband, the novelist Casey Walker, and their two daughters in Portland. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon.
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Now, if I had written this review yesterday, I'd have given it 5 sparkling, shinning stars. Today though, after thinking about it all night, I lowered it to 4 stars.
The book is beautifully written. The narrative is perhaps one of my favorite that I've ever read. It's told in the third person, but in a way that really makes you appreciate the characters without getting too close to any of them. There are a lot of people in this book, and while none of them can be described as the main character, or lead, you start to feel something for each of them (well, I did at least).
The only reason I dropped off a star is the ending. I really don't want to give anything away, so I apologize if I'm vague, but things were wrapped up very quickly and with no explanation. Where did the virus come from? Why did it suddenly stop spreading? Why were some people asleep so much longer than others? Also, what happened with the college students who escaped? Were they discovered? What about the hotel clerk?
While we learn the fate of all the 'main' characters, there were others who were mentioned that we don't get a follow-up of. The business men and women...what happened to them? The teens I previously mentioned who ran off...did they end up being ok?
In the end, I choose to overlook some of these things. Yes, I would have liked an explanation for the virus, as well as an explanation for it's disappearance, but the writing was so wonderful, and the story so good, that I won't hold the last couple chapters against the entire book.
I definitely recommend this. I've already asked a few of my friends to read it so we can discuss it, and, while we're only 5 minutes into 2019, I have a feeling this will rank as one of my favorites for the year.
The story focuses on a diverse group of characters and how they deal with the sudden outbreak and subsequent fallout. This group includes a shy college freshman, a paranoid father and his two young daughters, a professional couple and their newborn daughter and a single mother psychiatrist. There are other key characters as well but these are who the story primarily focuses on and I’d venture into spoiler territory if too much is shared about certain characters. Each character has their own unique challenges to overcome before and during the outbreak.
The story is good but not quite what I expected, based on some of the professional descriptions. I was expecting something reminiscent of early Stephen King where some mysterious paranormal sleeping sickness attacks a town in full-blown horror fashion. However, this is actually more like King’s current work. I don’t want to slip up and spill any spoilers, so I’ll stop there. I will say, if you’re looking for a horror or super creepy paranormal tale, this isn’t really scary. In fact, I didn’t find it scary at all, not even a little. Although it moves along kind of slow and at times seems a little redundant, it never became unreadable for me. By the end of the story, I felt neutral as to whether or not I liked it. The ending felt underwhelming. Although I finished it and never really got bored, I constantly found myself pushing through with the goal of finishing the book rather than enjoying the story. There were several times when I thought things were going to pick up and become a lot more interesting and faster paced. I eventually realized and accepted the fact that what I was reading was the story and that neither the pace nor tone was going to change. It was then that my focus switched to finishing it as soon as possible.
Well, I finished it. Unfortunately, I had to lower my rating to a weak 4 stars because of the ending. See last sentence of my review. I didn't read this thinking I would have to question my own ethics which I think are pretty good on the whole. Maybe that's what she wanted the reader to do. She does a little preaching on the side as I've never read such detailed accounting of the development of a fetus.