‘Nod’ by Adrian Barnes [Book Review]

Over Christmas I had the chance to catch up with some of my friends who are currently dispersed all over the country (and indeed the world) whilst they’re at university: one such friend was Alice, my Harry Potter and book loving buddy. As usual, we went for lunch and then went book browsing, which typically involves a whole lot of recommendations and subsequent purchases. One recommendation made to me by Alice was Nod by Adrian Barnes, which certainly made for an interesting read for the 2017 Reading Challenge.

Title: Nod
Author: Adrian Barnes
Released: 2012
Pages: 261
Category: #47 A book with an eccentric character
Rating: 6/10

“I came to believe that if something can be imagined it must be possible.”

Nod is a sci-fi novel unlike anything I’ve ever read. Paul, a writer, created Nod, a fantasy land where nobody sleeps. All fine whilst fictional, but one day the whole world is unable to sleep and Nod becomes a reality. The novel follows Paul (who is a rare individual capable of sleep) and his partner Tanya on their mission to adapt and survive, or die in this newly created hell.

An incredibly literary piece of work (far more so than your average sci-fi/fantasy), it is ultimately a zombie/apocalypse story. In terms of characterisation, I didn’t particularly connect with any one person on an individual level, instead I find myself absorbed in the devastation of the scenario.

In terms of plot development, this novel started out amazingly: the premise was clearly defined and the characters were intriguing, but unfortunately I didn’t care for the direction the story took, and in places it felt a little rushed (though this is understandable when considering the entire human race is on its way to extinction in a very short space of time).

The edition of the novel I read also contained an essay, My Cancer is as Strange as Fiction, written by the author, something I found incredibly interesting and remarkably relevant to the penned tale. Discussing how life has a way of mimicking the fictional, the parallels between the author’s very real cancer diagnosis and his invented character’s decline was devastating and powerfully emotional. Strangely, it was a fitting and sobering end to a thoroughly thought-provoking tale.

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