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

Read Excerpt* *Different edition


3.38  ·  Rating details ·  9,768 ratings  ·  1,192 reviews
Dawn breaks over Vancouver and no one in the world has slept the night before, or almost no one. A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand, can still sleep, and they’ve all shared the same golden dream. 

After six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis will set in. After four weeks, the body will die. In the interim, panic ensues and a bizarre new world arises in whi
Paperback, 271 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Titan Books (first published November 1st 2012)
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 Nod, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Figgy It's been a while since I read the book, so hard to say for sure, but I think I actually related to it quite a bit. Not in the sense of "I've been the…moreIt's been a while since I read the book, so hard to say for sure, but I think I actually related to it quite a bit. Not in the sense of "I've been there" but I think it did somewhat reflect the way my head works/the way I see the world when I'm exhausted.

I'd be curious to see your feelings on Benjamin Warner's Thirst if you ever get around to reading that one... I read that one a lot more recently and had a hard time connnecting, though it is a literary apocalypse, too. Am wondering if my love for one and "meh" for another is down to timing, but have no time to revisit.(less)
Ari Begbie
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,768 ratings  ·  1,192 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Nod
Mark Lawrence
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edit: RIP Adrian Barnes. I learned today that the author died early this year, succumbing to the brain cancer he was diagnosed with around the time the book was released.


I'm 5*ing this because it's a fine book.

I'm warning you that you might not like it because it is more literary than most fantasy you're likely to pick up. Yes, many fantasy readers read literary fiction. But also many don't. Consider yourself warned.

Consider the books Nausea by Jean-Paul Satre and The Girl With All T
Maggie Stiefvater
One day, no one is able to sleep.

That's the premise of this brief novel, a look at a world that devolves into madness in just a few weeks as sleep deprivation takes its toll. It was a strange novel to read alongside the other novel I was finishing this week, HOW TO STOP TIME, which also is interested in the greater movements of human through culture. Both were more pessimistic than I think I would have been, and both are interesting reads during 2020, a time when the U.S. has been forced to loo
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ah I so wanted to like this more. The excellent premise lured me right in, but sadly the slumber was not as restful as I would have liked. There is a plot, of course, but I found it so sparse on actual story and so heavy with experimental tangents that I couldn't connect with what was going on. It's obviously very clever and you can feel the author's style consistently throughout, but it almost felt like this is a book for a certain elite and if that's not you, you're left right out.
The plot mov
J.L. Aarne
Sep 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. It isn't a difficult read and it isn't that long, I read most of it in one go, but then I put it down and could not bring myself to pick it up and finish it for another month. I did eventually finish it, but I wish I'd never picked it up at all.

There is so much going on in this book that is NEVER explained. Why couldn't some people sleep and some could sleep? What caused this to happen? Why were the people who could sleep having these strange almost religious visions? What we
Craig Wallwork
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nod is a novel that only comes around every five to ten years. It takes that long for a writer to create a piece of fiction that actually has something to say and is unique. Nod is that book. It tells the tale of Paul who finds himself an unlikely prophet after his manuscript on the etymology of words becomes a surrogate bible to a city who cannot sleep.

Vancouver is the backcloth to this insomnia epidemic, one that has gripped nearly every one of its inhabitants, save for a few individuals, li
Oct 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars.

Nope nope nope.

I thought I would love this book, as it has an absolutely incredible premise. A new day dawns in Vancouver, Canada, and it soon becomes apparent that almost no one in the world has slept. Only a handful of people have managed to sleep, and every one of them has had the same strange dream involving an odd golden light. Paul, our writer protagonist, is one of these 'Sleepers', and he is forced to watch as his girlfriend Tanya and almost everyone else around him begin to ra
Dannii Elle
I've unknowingly read three books that focus on mass insomnia in the past few weeks. I suffer from bouts of insomnia myself and so this premise is especially terrifying and interesting, in equal measure.

Initially, I thought I had found what I was looking for in the previous two books within this volume. I was desiring to read a thrilling and horrifying tale depicting the eventual breakdown of mind and body, community and society. The first half of this book does a brilliant job in recreating the
Jul 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Truly one of the worst books I've ever read. I only finished because it was for book club, so it ended up being #hatereading

Total garbage. Plot is full of holes; the premise is half-baked; the characters are one-dimensional (female characters are half-dimensional); the writing is detached, smug, and trying too hard to be clever.
Bill Jr.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sure, it sucks when you can’t sleep. You're tossing and turning in bed all night long. Your eyes look like they're held open with toothpicks; your mind replays the day in a neverending loop; you feel worn down like a car tire that’s never been changed. But no matter how tired you are, you're unable to sleep. We’ve all had nights like that.

As awful as a night without sleep makes you feel the next morning, imagine what life would be like if you could never sleep again. If the night before was the
Tom LA
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Very dark. Heavy. Good but not nearly as good as the praises on the cover. They are ridiculously overblown. They sound like someone put these people on an electric chair and asked for their level of enthusiasm while the current was switched on. Fake.
Luke Johnson

Honestly, for all the interesting ideas this novel has, it just plain sucks. The world is thrown into chaos when 99% of the world's population spontaneously becomes incapable of sleep, and are forced to steadily succumb to sleep deprivation psychosis. The remaining 1% are haunted by dreams of mysterious golden towers.

Honestly, that's a solid setup. It was enough to convince me this novel was worth the price of admission.

I strongly suggest you don't make the same mistake I did.

(view spoiler)
Actual rating 3.75

Paul is an etymologist – his life revolves around the exploration of words and their origins, and writing books about their history and transformation.

As the end of the world begins he is working on his next book, the eponymous Nod, which focuses on words and phrases that have fallen out of common usage and understanding.
Anyway, in forgetting words, my thesis went, we abandon them. But the realities those banished words gave voice to don’t vanish: old, unmanned realities lurk
Tanja Berg
Aug 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Logan
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Nod is a thin book about two things we take for granted: words and sleep. The first person narrator writes books on etymology. The first thirty pages or so emphasise the point by means of what the Russian Formalists called a thing I can neither pronounce nor spell, but it means estrangement. Poets are advised to 'make strange' thus forcing the reader to pay attention. Estrangement can go horribly wrong when the author makes wrong choices. Thankfully, Barnes makes correct choices.

Having made his
A little verbose, but I guess it's supposed to be. The lead protagonist was a useless dickhead. ...more
Rebecca Alcazaze
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It may be November but I’m glad I finally chanced upon a good Halloween novel after a month of so-so spooky books. I thought this was really rather good, and I was sad to realise that the author, Adrian Barnes had died not long after publication.

His writing style (or that of his implied first-person narrator, Paul) is a lot. Full of metaphor, word play and repetition that smacked me in the face throughout. I can imagine others may at times find it a bit too much though. The narrator is an etymo
Cindy Newton
I found out after I finished this book that the author died this year from a brain tumor. I was very sorry to hear that--the world lost a talented novelist on his passing.

The book offers an apocalyptic scenario in which most of the world's population suddenly stops sleeping for no reason. They are not sleepy at all and just cannot sleep. Our protagonist, Paul, is one of the lucky ones. He is able to sleep and has amazing dreams bathed in a wonderful golden light. His girlfriend, Tanya, is not a
Michelle Morrell
One night, without warning, the vast majority of the world's population stops sleeping. No explanation is given, though the hints are supernatural, as the sleepers seem to share a dream of peace and golden light.

We get a little slice of the epidemic, one man's tale as he tries to survive for a month, the estimated time it will take the sleepless to die. Of course it's not that easy, as we watch the city of Vancouver spiral into madness.

The author can craft words in delightful ways, I found mysel
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was excellent. An intelligently written novel, you could call it horror I guess, but there's more to it than that. It's a clever twist away from the glut of zombie novels that seem to be everywhere at present. It reminded me a little of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend in feel and mood and it had a nicely ambiguous ending.

It's also wonderfully apt considering the state of the world at present, a little look behind the curtain at what might await us should we lose control.
Sep 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bad-bad-bad
Nod is a piece of speculative fiction about what would happen if nearly everyone in the world stopped sleeping. Focusing on Paul, a writer who wakes up to discover that he is one of the few who has slept. Those still having the ability to sleep, find themselves dreaming the same dream about a golden light.

The world quickly fractures into "Sleepers" and the "Awakened ". Of course, the Awakened quickly start resenting those who can still sleep. Sleep deprivation is well know as having terrible and
K.J. Charles
Well, that was disturbing. A sort of dystopia where the end of the world comes about because almost everyone simultaneously stops being able to sleep. Panic, sludgy brains, random violence, societal collapse, and mass psychosis follow rapidly on. This is one of those dystopias so incredibly realistic in concept that it's hard to forget it isn't happening; also, having had a baby that didn't sleep through for 14 months, my idea of pure hell.

It's a weird book, written in a very literary way (MC i
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Nod explores the slow disintegration of humanity through sleep deprivation. Reality is distorted as the conceptual fiction of the world of Nod turns fact in the eyes of the Awakened. A harsh insomnia overthrows the daily grind, replacing it with a hazed infused horror fun-house that strips the characters down to their basic need to just survive.

While I was expecting a different story, Nod delivers in establishing a truly atmospheric semi-dystopian infused survival horror.

Yet the most endearing
David Stringer
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Well I've continued the year with another really engrossing and enjoyable read. NOD is about what happens to the world, when for some unknown reason the vast majority of the worlds population can now, suddenly, no longer sleep. What ensues is the world free falling into madness, mayhem and horror.

The author does a great job making this a completely absorbing and believable story as the world sadly falls into decay and ruin, as our main character Paul tries to get on with and survive this new wor
Abi Seddon
There is a lot to recommend this book, not least a concept which, on the surface, is fascinating - the deterioration of humanity when the majority of the population cannot sleep. Some of the metaphorical language and images the author conjures are amongst the most inspired I've ever read; I'm tempted to re-read for that purpose alone. At the same time, I felt it was crammed too tight with the author's demonstrable intellect and frame of reference that it became an overwhelming read. There were p ...more
Martin Belcher
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Every now and again a novel comes along that is so Completely original and captivating that it makes you gasp....well Nod is one of these!
An apocalyptic tale with a unique and original idea. One day, almost the whole population of the world find they can't sleep, putting it down to some temporary insomnia that we all suffer from occasionally it is swiftly forgotten until the second night of sleeplessness and the shocking realisation that this phenomena is worldwide. Slowly days turn into a week
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5* A difficult one to review and rate. I enjoyed it overall and it was easy to read if not always to follow. It was clever, original and well written. A previous reader compared it to High Rise by J. G. Ballard and I can see the resemblance.
Lou Robinson
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this short apocalyptic story. It felt like a cross between JG Ballard's High Rise and a classic zombie tale. But not quite either. Not one for insomniacs, I reckon it would be pretty depressing to read about a whole world of people who can't sleep. Only one minor flaw which led me to drop it to 4* and that was the ending. What happened to Paul? ...more
Leah Bayer
4.5 stars

When I was 15 years old, I wrote a story about a world where humans forgot how to sleep. Clearly I was way ahead of my time, because that topic has been very trendy these past few years. Black Moon, Sleep Donation, and Nod which I think is by far the superior book in the "apocalypse by lack of sleep" genre. (Side note: I never even tried to get that story published, and now I feel like a moron. I could have been such a trendsetter).

Nod is a story of sleeplessness told through the eyes o
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sleep ensures functionality; without sleep you lose your mind and eventually die. Cheerful thought. This novel takes that premise and creates hell, or nod.
Rynn Yumako
Disturbing and creepy, and while it could easily have been a favorite book of mine, I felt a strange disconnect the entire time I was reading it. It all comes down to our narrator, Paul, who seems like he is perpetually bored in a situation that any normal human being would find terrifying and his high and mighty attitude pissed me off way too much to enjoy this thoroughly.

There were moments where I could see the true horror of this world and those were the parts that kept me going, but the book
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book just out... 1 32 Nov 02, 2012 12:11PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kings of a Dead World
  • The Unit
  • EXOSKELETON II: Tympanum
  • Bizim Zamanımız
  • Ucunda Ölüm Var
  • The Night Burns Bright
  • Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses
  • Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat
  • 葬送のフリーレン 5 [Sousou no Frieren 5] (Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, #5)
  • 葬送のフリーレン 6 [Sousou no Frieren 6] (Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, #6)
  • Viking Boy
  • Tender is the Flesh
  • The Best of Archie Comics, Book 1
  • Ancestors: A History of Britain in Seven Burials
  • The One That Got Away
  • Exoskeleton
  • New Pompeii (New Pompeii #1)
  • Such Pretty Things
See similar books…
See top shelves…
I was born in England but grew up in Canada buried in suffocating suburbia, which made me angry and fueled my flight, first to the city and then to the bucolic rural climes of the West Kootenay region of British Columbia where people mostly live like human people. I teach English and Creative Writing at Selkirk College and own and operate a chain of online newspapers. I also write novels. For kick ...more

Related Articles

Fast-forward evolution in an icy Gothic chateau. Angels and demons in an 1880s mining town. A sentient house on chicken legs.   If these are...
46 likes · 10 comments
“Someone once said that we get more difficult to love with each passing year because, over time, our histories grow so tangled that newcomers can no longer bushwhack their way into the thicketed and overgrown depths of our hearts.” 13 likes
“Hell is time, isn’t that obvious? Take your greatest pleasure or your greatest fantasy and let it come continuously true—for a day, a week, a year, a decade. And that’s hell.” 11 likes
More quotes…