Sleep Donation (Kindle Single) - Review

Sleep Donation - Karen Russell

It is a special kind of homelessness, says our mayor, to be evicted from your dreams.


According to these professional Cassandras, sleep has been chased off the globe by our twenty-four hour news cycle, our polluted skies and crops and waterways, the bald eyeballs of our glowing devices. We Americans are sitting in an electric chair that we engineered.


-From the book


Sleep Donation is a novella that theorizes what our world might look like if faced with a disease of terminal insomnia. The CDC is searching for answers but no one knows exactly what causes it or why some people are affected and others aren't. A company called Slumber Corps collects sleep donations from the unaffected and distributes them to the sleep deprived. Instead of Red Cross vans collecting blood, there are Sleep Vans collecting hours of sleep.


Trish Edgewater works for the Slumber Corps. She is their best recruiter. Her sister died of insomnia before the sleep donation procedure was developed and Trish resurrects her ghost to persuade people to save others by donating their sleep. But Trish gradually becomes uncomfortable with the absolutes her company claims. And when Trish recruits (through her parents) Baby A, the first ever universal donor, she begins to question her beliefs even more. She starts to question the ethics of her bosses & their company.


This book was ok. I admit, I find novellas less appealing than full length novels. I prefer to get deeper into the story and world building. But, the story was interesting and it kept my attention. It was a creative and new idea. And the disease sort of made sense, with all the electronics and distractions, people do have trouble sleeping. What if there was a disease where you couldn't sleep at all. What lengths would people go to in an effort to find a cure? And what or who would they be willing to sacrifice?


I really wanted to see what would happen next. It felt like the whole story was building to something that you didn't get to see. So the end was a bit disappointing.


Recommended to:

If you like the quick pace of open ended novellas, then this would be a good book for you.