The Dreamers

The Dreamers

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A strange illness induces sleep and heightens dreams in an isolated college town, transforming the lives of ordinary people, in this mesmerizing novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Miracles. A college girl tells her friends that she's feeling strangely tired. The next morning, when they find her in bed, she is still breathing--but she won't wake up. Within a few days, another student, down the hallway, won't wake up. As the sleeping sickness spreads, the town is turned upside down. We meet Ben and Annie, a young couple determined to keep their newborn baby safe; Sara and Libby, whose survivalist father has long prepared for disaster; Mei and Matthew, and other college students. A quarantine is established, the national guard is summoned. Yet, those who have fallen asleep are showing unusual patterns of brain activity. More than has ever been recorded in any brain--asleep or awake. They are dreaming--but of what? With gorgeous prose and heart-stopping emotion, The Dreamers startles and provokes about the possibilities contained within a human life, when we are awake and, perhaps even more, when we are dreaming."--
Publisher: Toronto :, Bond Street Books,, [2019]
Description: 303 pages ; 24 cm
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780385692441
Branch Call Number: Walk


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 21, 2019

Not a true sci-fi, more realistic fiction - not too far off from the communities today that are susceptible to measles. We read this in my book club and everyone enjoyed it - though we all thought the ending fizzled out. A true sci-fi book would have had an X-Files ending..., no? The character development, and the characters themselves were interesting and well thought out. I especially enjoyed the story-lines of the conspiracy-theorist father and his two young survivalist daughters as well as the pair of college students who took it upon themselves to try to help their community. Overall a great read that at times will suck you in, and others will give you a moment to pause in wonder.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Apr 30, 2019

A quiet, thoughtful novel about a community where an infectious disease causes sufferers to fall into a deep sleep. For fans of titles like "Station Eleven."

Apr 30, 2019

I would say that this book is a science fiction story about a California mountain town beset with an infectious disease that causes people to fall asleep, and sometimes never wake up. The government's response seems accurate. A fast and interesting read.

Hillsboro_JenniFerg Apr 14, 2019

First of all, this is a well-written novel by Karen Thompson Walker. She has a beautiful way of describing things and had me hooked from the very beginning. However, I wouldn't consider it a terribly happy story; it's a bit darker than what I would typically read, but if you're into dark stuff it will likely be mild for you. I gave it four stars because, like I said, it was beautifully written, however, I was a little disappointed about the ending. It wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped.

DPL_Graham Mar 26, 2019

It started in a dorm room in a sleepy California mountain town with one road in and one road out. Students slowly started to fall asleep and fail to return to full consciousness. They may make movement, murmurs, eyes moving in deep and rapid sleep, but the disease was keeping them under. Like any good virus, the sleep started to spread from person to person until the whole town in under army quarantine.

The Dreamers is an easy to read, short chaptered, multi-character narrative on the infection as it takes over the town. We watch from the perspective of college students, kids whose parents have fallen asleep, and nurses trapped in quarantine hospitals. Will the disease ever be cured? Will it take over the world? Instead of a “The Walking Dead” Walker imagines “The Sleeping Dead.” While the action corresponds to the analogy the story still drew me in and held my attention to the end.

Mar 15, 2019

At first I was impressed with the drift of story about people, starting with college students, who mysteriously fell into a deep sleep or dream state. All the ingredients for an interesting novel were there but just not developed to where I was thoroughly engaged. The exploration of dreaming lacked as did the relationships of students or family members. Had potential but ultimately disappointing.

Mar 12, 2019

The first thing I have to mention (because I've been obsessing over it): the COLONS. There's. So. Many. It was the first thing I noticed, and soon it became difficult not to be distracted by them. On some pages there were 3-5 used to focus in on a concept or character. I can understand that they are used with the intention of creating a unique authored voice, but it was hard to ignore.
I will say that the concept was interesting. I love dreams, and the novel definitely took on a dream-like tone in its weaving between different characters and the slow development of the virus. However, I agree with other reviewers' posts that it concludes very open-ended; it is definitely intended to make the reader ponder in an existential or philosophical way. All in all, a pretty good fiction read that I am still on the fence about recommending to others. And that's the tea.

Mar 04, 2019

Not as good as previous book, The Age of Miracles which I loved. This one was disjointed and did not wrap up the several story lines by the ending. Left the reader feeling like saying, "That's it?" Except for a few bright spots it was pretty deary reading. Still, I look forward to her next book.

Feb 27, 2019

I give this a solid middle-of-the-road rating. Nothing mind blowing. I liked the dreamy, lilting prose. There was a whole lot of middle to the plot and not enough ending. So many details left hanging at the end. (What was the significance of the lake? What about the mom of the two little girl's belongings?) I think that may have been by design though... since often times in dreams we are left with many unexplained details and we have to decide which ones are real and which are not. Read it if you like right-brained science fiction.

TSCPL_Cadie Feb 12, 2019

Could not put this down. I loved Age of Miracles and I loved The Dreamers. My only complaint is that Karen Thompson Walker can not spit books out fast enough! Totally worth the wait though. I just finished it and want to read it all over again.

So many stories from so many characters, and yet I found myself relating to each of them. Their voices all so authentic in a time of chaos and fear. But also, how we all just live in those times. One foot in front of the other. Hoping things will take a turn for the best. Lucky for us, they usually do.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top