The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker | Book Review

the dreamers

Pages: 303
Publication: Doubleday Canada
Release date: January 15, 2019
How I got the copy: Penguin Random House Canada
Rating: 4/5

It’s been about a week since I’ve finished The Dreamers and I still don’t have the words to explain what I think about it. Once I finished the book I rated it on Goodreads and wrote “Good in a hurt my brain kind of way.” because it’s a good book but I couldn’t and still can’t form my thoughts about what I think about it. I still have so many questions and I was left in a “woah” state of mind. In a way, it’s like an inception feeling. From an unknown virus how can you really tell what’s a dream? The Dreamers also put me in a book hangover… I haven’t been able to read anything else since finishing it.

Let’s state the most obvious, the cover is beautiful. With its night sky full of stars to the beautiful rainbow colours within the letters of the title and cursive for the subtext. I absolutely loved reading Night Film by Marsisha Pessel who blurbed the book and is one of the reasons why I was tempted to read this.

A modern Midsummer Night’s Dream... In this wonderful novel, Walker paints a haunting canvas exploring time, memory, consciousness, and youth.
— Marisha Pessel

Now to the meat of the book, it follows several people throughout an outbreak of an unknown virus that puts people to sleep and the infected display symptoms that they’re dreaming. The entire book is a ride. I think it’s beautifully written and it made me think about so much. About how viruses spread, the unknown, consciousness, survival, and how mysterious life really is. And even though a lot is going on this book and it’s written in multiply POV’s it’s slow-paced.

I’ve been reading some reviews that have issues with how many loose ends this book has but I enjoy how there’s so much still to uncover within the book. Just like life, sometimes some questions can’t be answered. I feel it’s a realistic way to conclude The Dreamers. In the book, it mentions how the virus will continue to be researched on to try and understand it more, which is so real. Just think about how much we don’t know that the government isn’t telling us! And this is what I mean about the book being “Good in a hurt my brain kind of way”. There’s so much to speculate and no answers.

It took me about a week to read this 300 page book and it’s honestly because I couldn’t read this book quickly. I could only read this book a few pages at a time throughout the day to process everything. It’s not that the book’s dense, it’s personally just the way my brain is wired. Each time I read a few pages of The Dreamers I’d get lost thinking about what I already mention (how viruses spread, the unknown, consciousness, survival) but mostly about how mysterious life is and of an apocalypse happening.

The Dreamers is being compared to Station Eleven a lot, which is a book I’ve been wanting to read for so long now! The author of Station Eleven’s has even blurbed this book and it just makes me want to pick it up sooner rather than (even more) later but if it’s going to leave me in a similar state to this book I might hold off for a little longer. I tend to postpone reading and watching things I have high expectations because I don’t want to be let down.

I enjoy reading science fiction but it sometimes tends to leave me in this state. It’s definitely not a bad thing, it just gets me thinking so much and it causes me to take a little break from reading… which isn’t really a bad thing at all. It’s all about balance. I’m definitely interested in reading Karen Thompson Walker’s previous book since it’s also science fiction and don’t read the genre enough.


*A copy of this book was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review*