I was really, really torn on this book. On the one hand I really wanted to enjoy it… And as a whole I think I did… But on the other hand I spent a good portion of it wondering if it was meant to be this weirdly pretentious.
Nod had a really good premise. Suddenly, everyone in the world stops sleeping- with some very rare exceptions- and things descend into chaos. The blurb tells us that after six days of no sleep psychosis sets in and after four weeks the body will die. So of course things go downhill quite rapidly.
I loved the beginning, and I absolutely loved the ending… It was the bit in the middle I couldn’t quite get my head around. The narrator is a writer, and his unpublished manuscript about obsolete phrases and words becomes the basis for a semi-cult that springs up in the chaos. For me, the leap between that book and the psychotic leader’s ramblings was a bit too great. Especially when I felt like the narrator (a Sleeper) seemed to be understanding what on earth was going on. But the story redeemed itself when those bits weren’t involved.
Paul, the narrator, wasn’t that likeable. And I didn’t particularly care about him and his non-sleeping girlfriend (neither did he, by all accounts) but I didn’t feel like I needed to like him. He was a pretentious arsehole, but who says pretentious arseholea can’t be the ones to survive the end of the world?
Nod is the second Canadian dystopia I’ve read (the first being the fantastic Station Eleven) so maybe I’m comparing it too harshly to what I’ve read before. I didn’t not enjoy it, and if you like dystopias I think it’s worth a read (or, if you’re a pretentious arsehole, maybe you’ll feel at one with Paul) but I possibly wouldn’t read it again.