The Dreamers

The Dreamers

A Novel

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
As a strange illness induces sleep, an isolated college town is turned upside down. A quarantine is established, the national guard is summoned. Yet, those who have fallen asleep are showing unusual patterns of brain activity. More than has ever been recorded in any brain - asleep or awake. They are dreaming - but of what? With gorgeous prose and heart-stopping emotion, this novel startles and provokes about the possibilities contained within a human life, when we are awake and, perhaps even more, when we are dreaming.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books/Doubleday Canada, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780385692441
Characteristics: 303 pages ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 06, 2019

I loved Walker's Age of Miracles, and this didn't quite match that, but was quite good nevertheless. While well written and compelling, it slightly lacked emotional entry for me.

In a small college town in California, a student falls asleep and can't be awakened. Then another succumbs, then a dozen more, then hundreds of the town's residents are asleep for days, weeks, months. And all of these sleepers are dreaming - vivid, otherwordly, relentless dreams. We follow the lives and reactions of several left awake: Mei, the quiet roommate of the first victim; a pair of college profs and their newborn; two little girls virtually orphaned when their off-the-grid, survivalist father falls, etc. Walker's genius is her matter-of-fact approach as these people react to and try to live in their new reality. What becomes important and what falls to the wayside? In writing what is clearly a metaphor for a number of issues confronting us today, Walker gives us this best line when one of the few victims awakens: '"You've been unconscious for four days," a psychiatrist tells him, to which comes his devastating reply, "It's been a lot longer than that."'

JessicaGma Jul 04, 2019

A variation on a theme for post apocalyptic tales - not as dramatic as one would be if many people died, but sort of realistic as only so many were affected, and the end was a bit balloon losing its air (pfffftttt and done). I prefer "Station Nine" or even the recent "The Book of M" for a more creepy, ongoing story with more fleshed out characters.

Jun 17, 2019

Finished this over the course of a weekend and found it to be quick, illustrative and fun to read. I felt the characters could have been a little more developed and the mysterious illness explained a bit more in the end. The conclusion was resolute but a bit abrupt in it's finality. I agree that it may have worked better as a short story but interesting premise never the less.

Jun 15, 2019

The premise, the characters, the story... all fantastic. Dew me in so much I finished the book in a morning. Without spoiling, though, the ending was lackluster and kind of ruined the experience.

Jun 12, 2019

Owes a nod to "Blindness" throughout and to Alice Munro at the end. Still a good read, interesting style.

May 31, 2019

There are so many better books, and so little time. For me, there was not enough character development in this one to enable me to care about any of these people. This should have been a short story, but it was stretched out far too long. Distracting writing style, including spelling out Freudian interpretations of events, just in case the reader is too clueless to make the connection without her assistance. I do not recommend.

May 27, 2019

I'm a sucker for apocalyptic fiction and for medical mysteries, and this is a fine example of both. The entire book has a dreamlike feel - the illness arrives, spreads, and has varying effects on students and townspeople. Those stricken may or may not recover and may or may not experience strange dreams which may or may not be prophetic. Beautiful writing, believable characters I cared about. For me, Walker's The Age of Miracles was a little stronger - it's one of my absolute favorite apocalyptic novels; if you haven't read it, please do - but The Dreamers is very good. I'm really looking forward to whatever she writes next!

May 21, 2019

Not a true sci-fi, more realistic fiction - not too far off from the communities today that are susceptible to measles. We read this in my book club and everyone enjoyed it - though we all thought the ending fizzled out. A true sci-fi book would have had an X-Files ending..., no? The character development, and the characters themselves were interesting and well thought out. I especially enjoyed the story-lines of the conspiracy-theorist father and his two young survivalist daughters as well as the pair of college students who took it upon themselves to try to help their community. Overall a great read that at times will suck you in, and others will give you a moment to pause in wonder.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Apr 30, 2019

A quiet, thoughtful novel about a community where an infectious disease causes sufferers to fall into a deep sleep. For fans of titles like "Station Eleven."

Apr 30, 2019

I would say that this book is a science fiction story about a California mountain town beset with an infectious disease that causes people to fall asleep, and sometimes never wake up. The government's response seems accurate. A fast and interesting read.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top