Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping

The Shapeless Unease is a stream-of-consciousness retrospective on a year of sleeplessness by Samantha Harvey. Released 22nd May 2020 by Grove Atlantic, it's 192 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.

If this had just been a flat personal recollection of a year of insomnia (with recipes and a subchapter on how to increase melatonin), it wouldn't have affected me nearly so much. The book's pace is irregular and moves with a jerky rhythm which is edgy and anxious. The author writes with devastating simpicity about the sudden loss of a family member (a cousin with epilepsy) and her subsequent difficulty with anxiety, loss of sleep, emotional changes, and the devastating far-reaching effects of sleep deprivation on her life.

The writing is poetic, sharp, philosophical, insightful, and sometimes terrifying. It affected me deeply, so much that I am seeing out her other work. She's a gifted author and worth seeking out. The writing is sublime.

Five stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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