Insomnia (1994) – Stephen King

Every time I had read the blurb, or cover jacket for King’s Insomnia there was nothing about it that really caught my interest, nothing leaped out at me, and I was afraid that perhaps this one wouldn’t be enjoyable to me at all when I finally dug into it.

I was delighted to be wrong.

As I raced through this book, I devoured it, enjoying everything to be found within its pages, going back to Derry, Maine, hearing some very solid tie ins to my treasured Dark Tower series, and of course, King’s storytelling.

I soaked in the book, taking in page after page, enjoying the new characters, delighting when they brushed up against familiar names and places, and as the story of Ralph Roberts began drawing to a close. I slowed down my reading. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to leave these characters behind.


Over the course of some 900 pages I had gotten to known Ralph, and his friends, and realized he was not like other King creations. This was older man, a senior, who is drawn into something magical and terrifying. This wasn’t some young hero, this was a character in his golden years, a man who had lived, and was now dealing with the loss of his wife, and as suggested by the book’s title, insomnia.

As his sleep is stolen away from him, Ralph begins to realize that there is all manner of things going on in Derry, and even as a pro-choice speech and rally is gearing up, wheels are in motion that may cause a shocking loss of life, unless Ralph is able to stop it.

But when he is plunged into a world that exists around us unseen, time and reality all come into question and he is set on a terrifying course that may have one inescapable and final conclusion.

I got so wrapped up in this one, delighting in Ralph, his friend Lois, the people that populate the town on a number of levels and all the subtle, and not so subtle nods that tie this novel into the King universe. Obviously there are nods to It, and the Dark Tower, but there is also a nod to Pet Sematary, and perhaps others that I may have missed.

It’s a wonderfully full novel that ties in with the rest of the King universe, but stands easily on its own with a fantastic story that plays on legends, myths, and perhaps even dances around alien abduction? I don’t want to give away too much as it’s best to go in completely unaware and let the story weave around you.

A fantastic captivating read, and while I regret not reading it years ago, I’m glad I waited and got maximum enjoyment out of it.


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