An unsettling read.
Our story begins with young student Mei, an outsider in her dormitory, hearing her roommate drunkenly come home. She goes to classes and when she returns later the next day realises that her roommate is still asleep. Nobody knows why, and there isn’t anything the medical staff looking after her can do, but slowly the town succumbs to this bizarre situation.
One by one people drift off. They sleep, their heart slows and there are signs of them dreaming. There’s no explanation for this scenario, and nobody comes up with any answers about how to deal with it.
All too soon the town of Santa Lorna is placed in quarantine. Nobody can enter, and nobody can leave. Everyone is treated with suspicion, as nobody can tell who might have the virus.
We follow a number of characters through their experience.
Initially I felt the writing was atmospheric and there was a stifling feel to what was described. Sadly, the scenario doesn’t lend itself to a sustainable one for me. There’s a limit to how many people can fall asleep and how many dreams can be described before I lose interest.
This was a beautiful opening that promised much, but felt like it fizzled out. With no explanations offered for what took place and no real advancement in many of the characters I had a rather detached reaction to the closing section. Shame.