An alarming epidemic of insomnia has taken the United States by storm, leaving a trail of death and despair in its wake. Thousands of people struggle to fall asleep for weeks, giving in to the excruciating lack of rest, plunging into madness and meeting a tragic fate.
In the midst of this crisis, a non-profit organization known as the Sleepover Brigades emerged, whose objective is to find sleep donors willing to give up part of their rest hours to save lives.
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Trish Edgewater, a leading recruiter for the Sleepy Brigades, has become an exceptional figure whose power of persuasion seems unmatched. Trish’s biography reveals a moving background: her sister, Dori, was one of the first fatalities of this sleeping crisis. Her emotional stories of the dying and death of her family move many, prompting them to become donors.
But the situation takes a sharp turn when Baby A appears, the first universal sleep donor, capable of saving multiple victims. Joining her is Donor Y, whose tainted transfusions cause terrifying episodes of inhuman nightmares. This latest event leads Trish to question the ethical limits of a profession that apparently seeks to help others altruistically.
[”Donantes de sueño” se puede adquirir, en formato digital, en Bajalibros, clickeando acá.]
This is the plot of Dream Givers, the novel by American writer Karen Russell that has become one of the biggest literary phenomena in recent years. Although an initial version in digital format began to circulate in 2014, it was not until the years of the pandemic that the novel gained real importance.
The story plunges us into a world disturbingly similar to our own, at the bottom of a nightmare that serves as a warning about the consequences of our actions.
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In magnificent prose, Russell invites us to reflect on how fundamental values can become blurred in extreme situations. Here we are before a parallel world, but terrifyingly similar to the one here and now, in which humanity faces deep moral and ethical dilemmas, questioning the very nature of disinterested help.
Dream Givers is not only a story of intrigue and mystery, but also a window into reflection on our own society and human behavior in extreme circumstances.
Through this captivating account, Karen Russell confronts us with the importance of keeping our principles in turbulent times and urges us to preserve empathy and compassion, even when they seem in danger of disappearing.
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The book wins points not only for its aesthetic construction but also for the possibility of becoming a clairvoyant and disturbing work that tells us about a disturbing and, at the same time, close world.
Russell’s true talent lies in the choice of subject and in the ethical balance of the protagonists, linked to one of our most common fears: losing the ability to sleep. Throughout the development of the plot, two figures emerge inadvertently representing good and evil. On the one hand, there is the donor who transmits nightmares and, on the other, the baby who makes dreams possible. Meanwhile, the rest of the characters are in constant motion, tipping the balance between these opposing forces.
The terrible idea posed in the story involves striving to control the uncontrollable. Not only that, but it implies trying to control what, by not being subject to the will, gives us rest. The only organ in our body that requires sleep is the brain, and to avoid falling into the nightmare, which in this novel spreads like an intentional contagion, we must keep it as active as during wakefulness. Paradoxically, it is the wakefulness itself that causes the disease, not the nightmare. In other words, the cure can be lethal.
What a premise this is that Karen Russell arrives at, and what a great novel she has written. If we had to give him points, more than ten would go to Donators of sleep.
American writer Karen Russell. (Planet of Books).
♦ He was born in Florida, United States, on July 10, 1981.
♦ She is a novelist and writer of short stories.
♦ His first novel, Swamplandia, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Works of Fiction.
♦ Sleep Givers is his best-known work to date.
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