Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Insomnia” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.79  ·  Rating details ·  109,468 Ratings  ·  2,297 Reviews
Ralph Roberts used to be an ordinary guy—until insomnia robbed him of sleep. Now he's no longer ordinary—he can see horrible things happening to the people of Derry, Maine. He can see how, one by one, they are turning into monsters straight from hell.

He'd like to call them nightmares, but he's wide awake. He can't call himself crazy, because there is another person who see
Paperback, 760 pages
Published 1995 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published September 15th 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Insomnia, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Hakim "Cross-pollination" is what springs to mind. The books enrich themselves mutually, but you can still enjoy them separately.
"Insomnia" also enriches…more
"Cross-pollination" is what springs to mind. The books enrich themselves mutually, but you can still enjoy them separately.
"Insomnia" also enriches the "Derry"-universe, some references to "It" characters are in there. But you can fully grasp Insomnia without having read anything else from King.(less)
Scott Laight This book does not really have a 'scarefest' but it does have (in my opinion) a very strong final third with plenty of action and explanations. It's…moreThis book does not really have a 'scarefest' but it does have (in my opinion) a very strong final third with plenty of action and explanations. It's maybe not your typical horror story but i think it shows King can weave great stories in more than just the horror genre(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bill Harrington
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you find yourself with an afternoon to a magazine. If, however, you need to occupy yourself on a voyage to Mars, pick up "Insomnia."

It's long.

It is, however, quite good.

"Insomnia" begins as Ralph Roberts, a pleasant, not-too-cantankerous gentleman in his 70s, watches his beloved wife taken from him by cancer. Shortly after her death, he begins to experience "early waking" insomnia. Each night, it seems, he wakes earlier than the one before. Soon, he is awake all night.

In the deep
This was an official Pantless group side-read with those splendid cullys (a big shout-out to our newest member, baby Ryder!!!) of the Dark Tower Buddy read group…

…and that was pretty much the only thing that got me through this labored read.

This was a DNF the first time I tried to read it and it was almost a DNF the second time. Yes, I made more progress this time before I almost threw in the towel, but the anticipation of a tie-in to the Dark Tower series kept me going. And going.

And going.

A va
Nov 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
This book is not for everyone. For one its over 700 pages long. Another reason is that it deals with what some people say is uncomfortable topics:abortion, mental illness, domestic abuse and the afterlife and possible alternate worlds.

Another reason why this book is unique and different from other books is that the hero is a regular joe who happens to be in his 70's!

I loved this book. It took my mind to a place where few books can take me. I was not here reading the book-I was in Derry, Maine w
Edward Lorn
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King fans
Recommended to Edward by: Mom
Prefatory Matters: I lost a twenty-year-old book during this reread. Most of you have the seen the picture of my gutted hardcover copy of Insomnia. If you haven’t I’ll include it at the end of this post as well. Total loss of containment, folks. About thirty pages loosed themselves from the glue and became individual souls. I have a 284 page section, and another section of about 400 pages, and a little bit in the middle that just said “Fuck it” and struck out for the territories. All in all, a s ...more
Jun 04, 2015 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-said
It's crazy I know. I mean I am over three quarters of the way through this book but if I am being honest, the chances of my ever going back to finish it are just about nil.

Why you may ask and I guess the answer would be that I was never truly invested in the story or it's characters. In fairness it started out reasonably well and I did enjoy the camaraderie between Ralph and Lois but once the little bald doctors started making their appearance my interest level began to diminish quickly.

So way t
Paul O'Neill
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
A reread on the journey to the Dark Tower...

I read this a few years back and gave it a one star rating, I feel I may have been a bit harsh. This book has a lot going for it and is quite important in the Stephen King universe.

The characters are great, it's nice to see older characters for a change and Ralph is awesome. A unique concept with sprinklings of the Dark Tower throughout.

It was a bit lengthy though and there are huge parts of this book where it drags along, which is ultimately why it
Oct 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to anyone needed a doorstop
Shelves: horror
I HATED it. Extremely long-winded and convoluted. Horrible, absolutely horrible. Probably his most pointless story ever.
This is when I knew Stephen King had lost his awesome writing powers and I can't really bring myself to read him again. Bad enough I had to suffer through Black House, and then this.
He really should have quit while he ahead and still an icon in the writing world. As for me, I'd rather slit my own wrists than suffer through another one of his awful novels ever again.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I saw somewhere that Insomnia is considered by some to be one of King's "problem" books. I'm not sure what's meant by that tag, though for me the "problem" eventually would become that I didn't think of the book as a horror novel. It started out strongly, with a likable 70 year old everyman, Ralph Roberts, adjusting to life without his beloved wife. King's focus on aging and loneliness is as good as anything I've read by him. And deftly slipped in, a hint of the supernatural and coming doom, as ...more
Ruth Turner

"You may not know it, but shape-changing is a time-honored custom in Derry.”

Audiobook – Narrated by – Eli Wallach – A good narration except for the background music. At times I couldn’t even hear Wallach’s voice, so in the end I gave up.



When I read Insomnia the first time, many years ago, I hated it. I hadn’t read The Dark Tower novels and knew next to nothing about them, so I missed the connections. This time, although I still haven’t read the DT series (except for The Gunslinger), I’m
Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤
You either love it or hate it.
I'm obviously of the earlier persuasion.

Review soonish. Maybe.

5 ninja bunnehs with balloon strings
Dec 04, 2016 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition

Group read with The Dark Tower Honk MahFahs.
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

“It's a long way back to Eden, Sweetheart, so don't sweat the small stuff.”

This book does a weird thing books generally don't do - it starts well but keeps getting progressively worse as the length keeps unmercifully chugging away. I was into it for the first 200 pages although little was happening and the build-up stage was generous, but it kept letting out steam as it kept going, and when it came into weird territory and everything felt muddy and more complex, I lost interest. The last few hun
Ɗắɳ  2.☊
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was definitely a weird one. RTC, after all or most or at least a few of my buddies finish up. Or will they all DNF it? Only time will tell.
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has read, or is going to read, the Dark Tower novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Since I’ve been on a bender writing reviews of books I didn’t enjoy, I think I’ll take a minute to write one about a book I enjoyed!

*think happy thoughts*

Insomnia was a buddy read with my hostages lttle band of misfits that are reading the Dark Tower together. I’ve read the DTS several times and knew that Insomnia had a few tie-ins with it, but this is the first time I had actually read it. I’m glad I did. The character that comes into play in the DTS is mentioned in this book but there’s not a
Thouroughly enjoyable read BUT, as is sometimes the case with a King book, a little too wordy and over long. Would have flowed better if the first half of the book had been condensed by 300 pages or so. The second half if the book is where the story truly shines.

This book featured some new 'powers'. These powers where used in interesting ways. There was a bit of everything here, romance, action, horror and so on.

Now to the GREAT parts of the book. Those Dark Tower references! Wow! There are quit
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
Writing this review is going to break my heart, so I'm going to get it over with as quickly as possible. Deal? Okay.

The most interesting thing about rereading Stephen King's works in chronological order is seeing how my opinions of them change in comparison to how I felt years ago. Experiencing his releases one after the other in publication order puts them in a new light, and that new light can often shine previously unnoticed brilliance or bring dark shadows to my attention.

Insomnia is a nove
Adam Light
I have now read this one three times, and I still love it. It certainly is overlong, but that is one of the reasons I enjoy it so. King's imagination was on fire, maybe more so than at any other time. I really dug all the literary references, and the completely insane hallucinatory adventures Ralph Roberts has. Oh, and the way it ties in to the Dark Tower saga is a highlight as well.
Edward Lorn
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gift from Thomas Strömquist. :)
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who started reading King in the eighties, Insomnia was a book I have been meaning to get to for many a year. So, was it worth the wait? In short, yes.

I thoroughly enjoyed ambling along with Ralph Roberts as a somewhat unconventional senior citizen protagonist that seemed to, at the same time, remain quintessentially King. At the point where Ralph and his sidekick Lois Chasse team up to work out who the little bald men are and what their relationship was to the auras, I did feel a litt
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
I liked Insomnia a lot. I was quite surprised by the older protagonists, although of course there are things which compensate for their age. It wasn't a bad surprise, either. I thought it might be harder to relate to Ralph and Lois because of it, but it ended up not really being a problem at all. The most fascinating character for me, though, was Ed Deepneau. It was interesting how he kept the photo with him until the very end.

I loved a lot of the imagery that ran throughout this -- the auras, t
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pantless-fun
I admit that I did enjoy this book but finishing felt kinda like this:

Just Wow.
Sitting here, trying to sum up the book (which is unnecessary as I know you are fully capable of reading the summary on the book page), I find that there really wasn't much to the story at all. The last hundred pages held all the action and the first 500 or so is filled with:


and a little bit 'o

I have to give it to King, really. To keep me reading, that many pages, for so long.....*sigh*
I have not read any of th
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
Geez, where to begin. Well, for starters, Ralph is one of my favorite Stephen King characters of all time. Right from the first chapter, my heart ached for this guy and I was hooked. Seriously, only King can get you that involved with a character that early on in a book. Ralph is the main character and the first half revolves around the insomnia he experiences after the passing of his wife. The second half is where the story gets trippy. Having read some reviews from other Goodreads buddies, I k ...more
Jennifer Lynn Harrison
Wow...just...Well, first of all- SO many literary comparisons of various existing (IRL, kiddies) works are made in the dialogue between the main characters of this novel, especially near the conclusion; this is awesome + something I had not noticed the 1st time I read this one by King (although, I was probably like, 12 when I read this book for the first time, now that I think about it)....This was at least my 3rd time re-reading this book, and another thing that will strike Constant Readers lik ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Insomnia' is about a number of old people who can't sleep. However, none of them are aware the problem of sleeplessness is afflicting anyone else, until Ralph Roberts, the main character, decides to come out and mention it, cautiously, to a few friends who might be experiencing the same things he is, going by how they are acting. He is afraid he might be going insane. He is seeing things no one else appears to see!

Ralph did not like talking about it because he lives in the small town of Derry,
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I could list at least a dozen novels of Stephen King's that I liked better than this one. There are two or three masterfully written scenes that make it worth the read, but I found the storyline a bit too convoluted to hold my interest at times.
Ashley Daviau
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn't my first time reading Insomnia, I think it may be my third or fourth time actually. But I definitely enjoyed it the most this time around! I gained a whole new love for this book on this read-through and I'm still stunned by all the Dark Tower references that I missed the other times I read this book!

I will admit that Insomnia is a bit slow at times and I did feel there was points were it dragged on a bit needlessly. But when it did pick up, it MORE than made up for the slow bits! Mo
★ Jess
Nov 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Stephan King fans
If anyone ever tells you they read this in less then a fortnight, they're most likely bullshitting you.
This is almost impossibly long, and I can *easily* see why some people hate and/or have given up less then half way through.
It reads like a TV drama show, that seems to go on forever, yet having nothing of much importance happen until the final few, jaw dropping, cliff-hanging, edge-of-your seat episodes.
That said, it is enjoyable for the duration of the book.
Even the crazy, weird, no-idea-w
Dec 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is only the second Stephen King book I've ever read - the first was Pet Sematary, which I picked up on a whim. Pet Sematary was so good, it made me rabid for more Stephen King novels. I ran right out to the used bookstore and picked up Insomnia and The Stand - completely random choices, since I know nothing of Stephen King.


I pushed through and read the whole thing, because I kept thinking of Pet Sematary and how it haunted me after I finished reading it. I thoug
Katie pratt
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a challange. not an easy read by far.
Stephen king... what can i say. You can not prepare yourself for what this book delivers. I love the way he combines semi disturbing story lines with metaphysical themes. this book discusses abortion, fate, choice, engergy, auras.... and i could go on. although its a hefty book if your looking for an adventure that truely picks at your brain, give it a try. I fully enjoyed it and even happier to be done with all my unanswered questions finally wrapped up. If your looking for a fast and easy read ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
YA Buddy Readers'...: Insomnia by Stephen King - Starting August 1st, 2017 23 18 Aug 12, 2017 08:44AM  
Horror Aficionados : April 2017 Group Read Winner - Insomnia 35 194 May 07, 2017 03:07PM  
#RetoTorreOscura: Insomnia 3 15 Feb 11, 2017 04:31PM  
Around the Year i...: Insomnia, by Stephen King 14 33 Dec 31, 2016 08:40PM  
HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: Insomnia 3 19 Aug 17, 2016 07:46PM  
Insomnia by Stephen King - is it okay for teens? 14 75 Dec 29, 2015 09:04AM  
  • The Regulators
  • Night Visions 5
  • The Inhuman Condition (Books of Blood, #4)
  • Strangers
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A Pop-up Book
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance
  • Mr. X
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
More about Stephen King...

Share This Book

“It's a long way back to Eden, Sweetheart, so don't sweat the small stuff.” 99 likes
“It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in a while exhilarating.” 56 likes
More quotes…