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He is a man who has always mistrusted what lies beneath the surface, has always expected collapse, the onset of chaos. Tanya and Paul’s touching is coarse, brutal, and primitive, setting the stage for the rest of the novel. In a matter of days, psychosis sets in and all the complex, delicate systems which hold our world together fall apart. The first few days very clearly outlined what was happening for Paul, who could sleep, and his partner Tanya, who could not, and the bar was set for absolute mayhem and trauma to come.

This just reeks of male fantasy: the nebbish main character is actually a stud, able to perform like a jackhammer on command. Actually while it could easily have gone that way it turns more toward the navel-gazing, deconstruction of personality, relationships and society. Cupping his hands around his mouth, and without even bothering to try to sound like he meant it, he yelled, ‘Holy shit!Other than an oddly out-of-place reference to Harry Potter that honestly feels beyond contrived and a few dropped names later on, that's it. It's been several years since I've read it, but I have never met another person who's heard of it, let alone read it. Not only is that revolting and unnecessary, but that and other instances like it throughout the book give disturbing insight into the author's view of women. 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.

This novel is a debut, poignantly so — Barnes died of a brain tumor shortly around its release, and my paperback copy included a moving afterward by the author talking about his diagnosis and how it related to the novel. I found some of the metaphorical language difficult to swallow and I felt the swearing was over-used, like it was just in there for some kind of shock value, like a late-night episode of Hollyoaks. The magic of that inexplicable moment is why Adrian Barnes’ Nod is the creepiest book I’ve read this year. Nod is best enjoyed in the place that you want to sleep because you will eventually fall asleep—unlike the doomed souls in Adrian Barnes' novel. Factual Inaccuracy, Part Two: Sometime in Chapter 2, Paul describes a scene from Star Wars (Episode 4) where Princess Leia “receives news” of the destruction of her homeworld (Alderaan) by “Darth Vader’s Death Star”, only to be flirting with Han Solo “two scenes later”.The veneer of civility is thin and threadbare, after just a few days of no sleep for 99,9% of the world's population, all is chaos.

The narrator is an etymologist coming to terms with a world of linguistic breakdown, so his prose being so glutted with words worked well.Imagine if you can't sleep, you try as you might, but nothing works, and soon it turns you insane with the worry that you can’t and then the inevitable happens, you die. You know, the inevitable part of the film adaptation that happens around 20 minutes in when attention spans are flagging so the wife or girlfriend either takes a shower or gets frisky. One thing this book is is a chronicle of a love story that could have been epic for him if his lover had been bothered enough. I don't usually quote from the books I'm reviewing but in this case it's necessary, "Charles loved big words, loved forcing them into his sentences no matter how much they squealed.

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