Insomnia, why so overlooked? **SPOILERS**

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M_Parabola

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2016
56
267
25
Outside NYC
#1
I've heard people call this novel boring, slow, and uninteresting. I find it none of these things.

Ralph Roberts watches his wife slowly die, the introduction begins with a fantastic mental image of this slow ticking of a death watch. It ticks down and down and down until it is silent, and she is gone. His reaction to her passing is understandable, feeling lost he "wanders", he walks and roams and has no direction to his life.

His reaction to his insomnia is also very interesting, and the visions he sees make you question throughout the book if they're just in his head. A symptom of grief and lack of sleep, or if they are really, truly there? I love the three characters named after the Three Fates. I found that particularly clever in a novel that talks its way around death. Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Instead of being portrayed as females, they're portrayed as little bald men that look like doctors. Isn't that symbolism interesting considering Ralph's position? The doctors who couldn't save his wife, the doctors who cannot fix his insomnia. Now there are these doctors named after the fates of death who plague him, particularly Atropos, the one who finally cuts the thread of life.

Well done King, well done. I thought it was the neatest thing when Ralph began to see auras. The way they're described makes it very easy to mentally visualize what you're seeing in your head, and throughout the novel instead of saying "hey that's cool" I feel even worse for the man. If it's real he can look at someone and know if they're going to die, if it's not real it's because he's being torn apart in his own life.

Insomnia is pure metaphor, brilliantly written with lots of little Easter Eggs tossed in as it goes round and round the subject of death.
 

M_Parabola

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2016
56
267
25
Outside NYC
#3
Indeed, I like that it has a VERY tight tie-in with The Dark Tower series which in itself alludes to a lot of metaphors about death. It's interesting if you think about it, how many King books mention death in different subtle ways. Pet Sematary being another one that stands at the forefront of my mind, which is not horrific because they "come back" but horrific because of how far someone will go in the extent of their own grief and how they handle death.
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,677
4,112
#6
I think the abortion subtext might have been a bit political to make this a favorite and probably rubbed half his audience the wrong way. Old Ralph was a good character though. I always thought Jack Lemmon would have been great in that role. I think Ralph made a brief reappearance in Bag of Bones (although it might have been another book).
 

AchtungBaby

Well-Known Member
Dec 5, 2011
3,856
15,490
#7
I think the abortion subtext might have been a bit political to make this a favorite and probably rubbed half his audience the wrong way. Old Ralph was a good character though. I always thought Jack Lemmon would have been great in that role. I think Ralph made a brief reappearance in Bag of Bones (although it might have been another book).
No, it was BoB
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
82,541
319,900
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#8
...I have always liked this book, even though the sleeplessness and issues of aging start to loom more prominently for me now than they did when I first pored over it....finding love again, DT crossovers, political/social hot buttons, great character development, the auras....yeah, it definitely doesn't get the love many of his others do...
 

M_Parabola

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2016
56
267
25
Outside NYC
#9
Highly underrated. Definitely one of his best. We never sleep.
I actually checked it out initially because I suffer from Insomnia myself. Little did I know the story isn't so much about being afflicted by insomnia so much as being afflicted by grief at such a tender point in life. Similar in a way to Pet Sematary. I went in expecting something completely different, and came out feeling it was better than had he gone the traditional "nightmares" route. This is more gritty.
 

mjs9153

Peripherally known member..
Nov 21, 2014
3,288
20,434
#11
...I have always liked this book, even though the sleeplessness and issues of aging start to loom more prominently for me now than they did when I first pored over it....finding love again, DT crossovers, political/social hot buttons, great character development, the auras....yeah, it definitely doesn't get the love many of his others do...
me too GNT..and I used to have an apartment just like Ralph's,where I looked out of a second story window onto the street,and it was just like SK said,it is kind of street opera..you see people and animals come and go,you would be surprised what goes on around your urban home at night..
 

mjs9153

Peripherally known member..
Nov 21, 2014
3,288
20,434
#13
I've said it before- this book needed to be trimmed down by at least 1/4. While I did enjoy the story and the characters, it was just a bit overlong.
See,I disagree,because there was a lot of Derry backstory there..can't get enough of Derry and it's environs! This book also contains one of my more favorite descriptions by SK,by Ralph when he was a young man,and woke up in the barn he stayed overnight in after getting caught in a rainstorm..Going to have to do a reread soon,it has been a year or two,but I have read it at least eight to ten times,almost as dog eared as my copy of IT,lol..
 
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