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NOD by Adrian Barnes
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NOD (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Adrian Barnes (Author)

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4131753,919 (3.37)14
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 which those previously on the fringes of society take the lead.  Paul, a writer, continues to sleep while his partner Tanya disintegrates before his eyes, and the new world swallows the old one whole.… (more)
Member:Raquel_R
Title:NOD
Authors:Adrian Barnes (Author)
Info:Bluemoose Books Ltd (2012), 206 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read

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Nod by Adrian Barnes (2012)

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English (16)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
3,6 stars

I loved the writing. Everything else was just okay. (The afterword made me tear up a little, though, not gonna lie.) ( )
  tuusannuuska | Dec 1, 2022 |
The concept sounded great but the execution was poor. I struggled through this book, thank goodness it was so short or I probably wouldn't have finished it. It's praised as being a great literary work, so that's probably why I didn't enjoy it. There were too many literary references and not enough story.

Paul is so unlikeable as a character and he doesn't seem interested in anything I actually wanted the book to answer, like how or why this has happened. Why people are behaving so ridiculously and what connection, if any, his book has to it. He never seems to apply any rational thought to it.

Then there's the absolutely disgusting way he treats his partner. He doesn't seem to actually care about her, and because of this we don't really get to see her descent. He seems to forget about her completely whenever he's not with her and when he is he doesn't try very hard to engage with her and help her.

Everything that happens is ridiculous and unbelievable, I can't imagine that any of it would happen just because people didn't sleep.
  zacchaeus | Dec 26, 2020 |
I really liked it for the most part. However, I don't know why but when I was introduced to Charles, my mind immediately pictured Teddy from Bob's Burgers.


This image of Charles as Teddy persisted throughout the entire reading of the book. In a sense it almost perfectly complimented the twisted world of Nod.

( )
  SethBowman | Jul 31, 2020 |
What if the worldstopped sleeping?

It was a great premise for the book. And the story was interesting. Watching the world descend into madness day by day. Setting what people do and how they cope. Honestly I'd love to see this book made into a video game similar to The Last of Us.

Unfortunately the author spent too much time rambling about inconsequential nonsense like the origin of words.

On top of that the nation character was not likable or relatable at all. When you make your character a self proclaimed people hater, then give them no good qualities, you can't expect a person to like that character.

Then there's the ending. I won't spoil it, but it was the routine of laziness. I'd honestly had it end with some contrived deus ex machina than what we got.

Worth reading once, but that's it. ( )
  tebyen | May 27, 2020 |
There are a lot -- perhaps too many -- books dealing with dystopias out there these days, but this one's better than most. "Nod" certainly has a fun hook: it forgoes the most obvious triggers for the End of the World (nukes, environmental degradation, alien invasion). Instead, most of humanity perishes because it loses the ability to sleep. The story's told from the point of view of Paul, a Vancouver resident who writes academically inclined books about etymology. The author uses this as a jumping-off point for some fruitful meditations on language and how a complete societal collapse might affect our relationship with it. As the surreal becomes the norm and brutality come commonplace, we see some characters attempt to redefine their world at will while others cling gamely to outmoded ways of thinking. We see Paul, who has miraculously retained his ability to sleep and who has spent much of his life delving into archaic words and expressions, attempt to draw on the linguistic past to understand a weird new future. Barnes seems to agree with Samuel Taylor Coleridge's assertion that "Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests." In "Nod," we get to see the narrator try to understand the unfamiliar world that he's been thrust into using the linguistic tools available to him. It's a solid thematic premise for an end-of-the-world tale, and generally well-executed.

By now, you've probably figured that "Nod" is the sort of science fiction that often threatens to escape the most restrictive definitions that are applied to this genre and cross the line into literary fiction. What I liked best about it, perhaps, is that it doesn't read like a "serious" author trying to gussy up genre lit: this book is anything but stilted. Barnes's prose is informal, inventive, and playful throughout. The author's a good enough writer that Paul has a genuine voice: "Nod" reads like a good yarn related by your clever best friend. The author makes his most interesting points while making pithy observations and letting you in on his best inside jokes. While it keeps a book that contains scenes of terrible violence and overpowering despair light and readable, this style also seems appropriate to a novel whose fundamental concern is language's power and mutability. Along with its musings on semiotics, it also contains a lovely portrait of Paul's relationship with his long-term girlfriend and potential wife, Tanya, who, having lost her ability to sleep, slowly unravels as sleep deprivation takes its toll on her. "Nod" is also firmly grounded in its setting: Canadians -- especially westerners -- will enjoy the frequent mentions of Vancouver's landmarks and the obvious affection that the author has for the city's natural beauty. For all the blood, gore, and societal decay it features, "Nod" is not, in the end, a depressing book. It's ending is surprisingly optimistic, and might remind some readers of Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End." Recommended to readers, such as myself -- who like to spend time in that increasingly productive grey area between "serious" lit and sci-fi. And to insomniacs, too, I suppose. ( )
3 vote TheAmpersand | Jan 1, 2020 |
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Epigraph
"And Cain went out from the face of the Lorde and dwelt in the lande of Nod on the east syde of Eden." Genesis
Dedication
For Ethan and Liam
First words
The object of words is to conceal thoughts.
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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 which those previously on the fringes of society take the lead.  Paul, a writer, continues to sleep while his partner Tanya disintegrates before his eyes, and the new world swallows the old one whole.

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