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Sleep Donation

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  4,392 ratings  ·  597 reviews
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Swamplandia!, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, an imaginative and haunting novella about an insomnia epidemic set in the near future.

A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Und
Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Atavist Books
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Kira I don't know where you can get this title but I can tell you that it was a digital single (read: novella) through Amazon.
Kira I don't know where you can get this title but I can tell you that it was a digital single (read: novella) through Amazon.

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3.34  · 
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 ·  4,392 ratings  ·  597 reviews

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this is the first title from the newly-launched atavist books, which looks like it is going to be an e-publisher for cool novellas from authors i like and makes me really glad i have come around on the whole e-reader thing, albeit reluctantly.

it's a great piece of writing, about an insomnia epidemic that takes over the world, and slumber corps, a non-profit organization that forms to recruit sleep donors who try to cure the afflicted with their own sleep.

science, schmience. this is not that kin
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man, I really, REALLY want to like Karen Russell's work. I mean, I found the plot of this e-novella (wherein what lies ahead for us is a world in which a strange, disturbing insomnia has gripped the nation, forcing people with healthy sleep patterns to donate their sleep to the less fortunate in a kind of futuristic blood bank of zzzs) to be fascinating.

But about mid-way through, I hit a snag of sorts with Russell's writing that reminded me of why, despite the hoopla that surrounded it, her "Swa
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sleep Donation is the first book from a new publisher Atavist Books that appears to be publishing predominantly e-books, with some of the titles being available in print format, too. They've got an impressive looking group of authors lined up for their first wave of releases, they have some people from interesting parts of the publishing world running things and even more importantly it looks like they are going to be giving some time to pushing each book to try to help build careers and not jus ...more
The Shayne-Train
Three stars means "I liked it," right? Well, I liked it. So three stars. Bam.

Synopsis all up in yo' face: America has fallen under the dark spell of insomnia, and we follow a worker at the Sleep Corps. The Corps siphon nice, peaceful sleep from thems than can, and inject it or something into thems that can't. A great idea for a story, yes? I concur.

But the execution didn't "do it" for me. First-of-ly, the narration is the dialog kind of narration, which is I always find incredibly hit-or-miss. T
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this but the ending was so abrupt. That works for short stories (those being Russell's strength), but when I invest in a novella-length story that is so engrossing, I want a little more resolution.
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

4 stars

What if insomnia was an epidemic? And sleep could be donated to those in need?

karen has written a stellar review for this novella which initially led me to pick this one up for my kindle.

This book tells the tale of an insomnia epidemic, and Karen Russell writes very vividly what happens to our bodies when we don't sleep. Or we could just watch Christian Bale.

But as we smart people know, going a year without sleep is physically and scientifically impossible. Trish's sister Dori only lasted
Mike W
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sleep Donation is the story of an American nation increasingly unable to sleep. We are never told the year, but the cultural references and the dollar sums made it appear to this reader to be in the not so distant future. Rarely at first, but now with steadily increasing frequency, Americans are afflicted with an insomnia so total, that death results. Our narrator, Trish Edgewood is a recruiter for Slumber Corp., the nation's non-profit sleep bank. Through science, sleep has taken on a blood lik ...more
Ok, so I finally finished this one. It was only about a hundred pages or so, but for some reason, it took me several days to get through. The writing was very good, so it wasn't that, just a pretty deep material to consider as I read through it.

There's a lot of pragmatism and the whole "do the ends justify the means" going on in this story. Do we really have the right to force people to donate in order to help others stay alive? That's the heart of this story, with pure sleep as the necessary it
Allison (The Allure of Books)
This was an extremely quick read, and the amnesia mythology was extremely interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't find myself connecting to any of the characters or their stories. Having no investment in them definitely overshadowed my enjoyment of the worldbuilding.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"It is a special kind of homelessness to be evicted from your dreams."

When I saw this on the list of anticipated books in 2014 from The Millions, I was shocked to find I had not heard of this novella by a favorite author or of the new Atavist Books, a new digital-first publisher that has some exciting titles coming out soon.

In Sleep Donation, people have randomly started developing insomnia so bad they die from it. A company has discovered that people with pure sleep can sometimes jumpstart an i
Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
This short novella about a world in which sleep is rare and people are dying from being awake and not getting the recreational rest of a good night's sleep and dream could have easily been read in one sitting. It is only about one hundred pages long. Fittingly, this came to me when I spent a few days in some kind of tired haze because I didn't get enough sleep at night.

So maybe I was already prone to like Sleep Donation before I even started simply because of the circumstances. Additionally, th
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karen Russell doesn’t beat around the bush—she launches us into the sleep-deprived world of Sleep Donation right from the get go. We find ourselves in a quasi-dystopian but very familiar world. It’s a reality not so far removed from ours, populated with human behaviour patterns that feel authentic, even if they arise from a nation-wide - perhaps even worldwide - insomnia epidemic.

People are dying because of severe sleep deprivation. The Slumber Corps - an organisation reminiscent of the Red Cro
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I heard about this book on National Public Radio, and it sounded quite good, for a novella. There were a few quotable moments, a few sparkles of brilliance, but few and far between. In my opinion, it seemed quite disjointed, and lacked the ethical and moral conflicts that I had been promised on the Radio; they felt contrived and hardly conflicts at all. Finally, Donor Y was a complete disappointment. At least I ended up with a few good quotes and the novel was relatively cheap.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I want to preface this review by saying that I was very excited to read this novella. I have heard so many great things about Karen Russell, and I thought this would be a nice little introduction to her writing style. So I happily paid the $3.99 on Amazon, thinking I was in for a special treat. Boy was I wrong.

Here’s the thing about Russell’s writing- its good. It is obvious to the reader that she is an intelligent woman and an accomplished writer in the mechanical sense. However, “Sleep Donatio
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this. The "voice" of the story was good, and I enjoyed the flow, but there were also a lot of issues I just couldn't overlook.

First, the set up. The idea that these Storch brothers would give up their million dollar business to perform a public service was a bit ridiculous. You know there's a catch. I guess I wanted the catch to be more original.

The premise was good. I compared it to the need for blood and the idea of blood banks and mobiles. I remember when AIDS first ca
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Karen Russell's writing dazzles me to the core. I hope she lives forever and writes every single day of her life. The setup of this novella hooked me immediately. And while there are some faults in the story, including the abrupt ending, her prose is breathtaking. She's one of those writers where I have to stop and remind myself to slow down and really take my time absorbing her gorgeous words. The scene at the sleep grounds especially grabbed me - the dreamy liquid way she blends her descriptio ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russell is such an evocative, powerful writer with a quirky sense of humor and a dark yet compassionate sensibility about humankind. The short science fiction allegory is the perfect vehicle for her, and she puts it to great use here, though actually instead of being a perfect novella, I sometimes felt this was the seed of a longer piece that she didn't totally figure out what she wanted to do this. But aside from that minor quibble, I found this story to be such a powerful way of exploring the ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-text, owned-etext
Heard about this novella via an NPR author interview earlier this week and decided to pick it up from Amazon.

It's a short, but compelling read, set in a world where insomnia is a fatal disease and healthy sleepers can donate their sleep to help save the suffering. Children's sleep is especially effective, which leads to the discovery of Baby A - a universal donor. Unfortunately, nightmares can infect donated sleep, and Donor Y becomes a symbol of fear and distrust of the system.

The sociologica
Jennifer Ciotta
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sleep Donation" is a great concept and why I read the book. It's a Kindle Single, so it's a novella or long short story. I read previous reviews about problems with the book, mostly lack of plot. However, I found the plot OK. What I felt was lacking was the characterization of Trish, the protagonist. She comes across as one dimensional and completely unemotional. It was hard to feel anything for her.

On the other hand, lyrical prose, memorable descriptions, and a strong feel for this sleep-depri
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
4+ stars for the premise of the book. I loved the idea of a world full on insomniacs and donating sleep. I enjoyed reading the story and it's a fast read.

That said, I found the plot a tad scattershot, and thought maybe it would wrap up the parts that didn't seem to tie in to the narrative. But it didn't.

And then the characters. I didn't particularly like the main character Trish. Or really understand Baby A's dad.

A great ending could have saved this book for me (maybe made me like Trish?). The

Sleep donation, by Karen Russell

I wanted SO BADLY to like this novel........but instead, I didn't finish it. I just couldn't bring myself to bother. I am very let down.

What annoyed me about this audiobook, mainly, was the narrator. The actress Greta Gerwig, was a huge detraction in this endeavor. She reads in a stilted, choppy manner, rather like the forced readings of teens in English class, where you don't want to sound like you're enjoying it at all. Or, maybe just hate forced readings. Gerwi
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Λ
2-2.5 stars. Ehhh. This was hate-recced (yes this is now a word, dwi) to me by Dustie, since she disliked the novella but the ideas in it are relevant to our interests.

It has an interesting premise -- an infectious insomnia epidemic, and new technologies arising to transfer sleep from one person to another, our protagonist a charity cold-caller soliciting sleep donations -- and I could see where Russell was trying to go with it, but unfortunately the writing comes across as turgid and, yes, slee
The premise of this story - a world increasingly sleep-deprived and dying from insomnia unless victims can receive sleep donations - is intriguing, and I was along for the ride. Russell writes well, with a vivid vocabulary. When I taught writing, I told my students to SHOW, not TELL. Narration is vital but should never overwhelm character development and plot advancement. Here it does though. The narrator tells EVERYTHING (except for why that one nightmare is so horrifying); we are not allowed t ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very quick read, a very intriguing little book. Karen Russell can write, no doubt about that. She really nails the psychology of her characters and the dilemmas they face. And she can turn a phrase like few others.

I've seen quite a few complaints that this book ended too abruptly, and I get that. There's definitely room for more fleshing out and more resolution if she had wanted to turn this novella into a full-on novel. But it works as-is too, and I'm not entirely sure I would've wanted to sp
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seems fitting I started reading this during spring ahead, because I was tired. What hell worse than sleep deprivation that makes people look wasted physically and seems to turn their mental state to mush until they die? A company gives sleep transfusions that don't always work, as most people have disturbing sleep. Then they find pure sleep in the form of a baby, but can't assure the parents it's safe. Enter the moral dilemma. It is certainly a unique story that any human being whose ever strugg ...more
Julie Ehlers
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Meh. The fatal insomnia/sleep donation/fear of contagion plotline of this novella was like a 20-years-too-late metaphor for the AIDS virus back when it was widely misunderstood. I guess it was an interesting enough idea, but there was just way too much explaining going on, not enough dialogue or action in a story that called out for both. It all needed to be compressed somehow. And the writing bugged me--it was like a parody of Karen Russell rather than the genuine article. I didn't really enjoy ...more
An interesting truly fucked up concept that never really goes anywhere. I imagine if the author ever wants to fully explore it, it'd make a disturbing novel and perhaps a better story.

This novella works as a prelude to this haunting world where people no longer can sleep, but the surface of what humans are capable of when pushed to previously unknown limits is barely touched. The greed and the desperation of everyone involved can be felt, but it's hard to connect with any character. Especially T
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
One of my favorite thrillers is Charlie Huston's Sleepless about a prion caused insomnia epidemic. Karen Russell, however, says "f¥&& biology! MY prions get passed through dreams! Oh, and I'm going to do ALL of the things my writers workshop tells me not to: info dump, flashback, pages and pages of dialogue, too many characters (that robo-critique that sounds all too similar to 'too many notes') and spin gold, mo-fos!" I love this woman. One criticism, if this is an ebook only publicatio ...more
Laurel Beth
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, ebooks
In the past year I've failed to maintain a formerly close friendship with who in the past was very important to my soul-growth. Lately he's been set adrift on the S.S. Neverland, living in the Peter Pan contingent, boasting of moronic masculinity. He says, "I've seen more Iggy Azalea listeners in my Spotify feed lately," and like, yeah, I've been making playlists based around Workin On MY Shit. That's because I am trying to. All friends are real, but not all friends like you for who you aren't.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collections, 3bleach
I want a nap after listening to this. I enjoy Karen Russell's style, but the audiobook did not do her justice. The editor (or maybe it was just the narrator, Idk) did not pause between sections--not that that's necessary, but it was especially jarring at the very end when like half a second after the final word of the novella is read, the production info is being spat back out. I realize that pausing every now and then to let the words sink in would have made a long novella feel even longer, but ...more
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Donations Books 1 2 Jan 11, 2019 07:34AM  
Non e-book version? 4 32 Sep 03, 2015 03:58PM  
Book Lair: Sleep Donation - August 5th 17 15 Aug 10, 2015 07:21AM  

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Karen Russell graduated from Columbia University's MFA program in 2006. Her stories have been featured in The Best American Short Stories, Conjunctions, Granta, The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Zoetrope. Her first book of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was published in September 2006. In November 2009, she was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree. I ...more
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“It is a special kind of homelessness to be evicted from your dreams.” 21 likes
“America's great talent, I think, is to generate desires that would never have occurred, natively,... and to make those desires so painfully real that money becomes a fiction, an imaginary means to some concrete end.” 4 likes
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