Synopses & Reviews
For fans of The Age of Miracles and The Dog Stars, Black Moon is a hallucinatory and stunning debut that Charles Yu calls “Gripping and expertly constructed.”
Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.
He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness. Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend. All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity. Money can’t buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it. However, Biggs persists in his quest for Carolyn, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had.
Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, strange, and profoundly moving.
"Even amid a glut of apocalyptic novels that imagine everything from nuclear meltdown to zombies, Calhoun's debut presents one of the most terrifying disaster scenarios of all time, perhaps because it's somehow plausible: a worldwide insomnia epidemic turns people into the real living dead, making them prone to hallucinations and fits of anger. In the wreckage of America, where life and dreams are indistinguishable, several characters struggle to find each other while battling insanity and the encroaching nightmare. A onetime ad exec named Biggs, one of the last people still capable of sleep, searches for his wife Carolyn in the pandemonium. Another sleeper, Lila Ferrell, is among the first to see the epidemic coming thanks to her therapist father's research; after her parents succumb to wakeful fever and threaten her life, she takes to the streets wearing an owl mask. Eventually, she meets Felicia, a lab assistant at a sleep research center determined to reverse the epidemic. Finally, there's Felicia's scofflaw lover, Chase, who attempts to take advantage of the situation by stockpiling sleeping pills, only to wind up embroiled in a surreal adventure involving a truck of stolen sheep. The characters and their intersecting narratives are largely a showcase for the author's almost unspeakably dark vision of a restless world. Calhoun's depiction of the collapse of language, reason, and love in a world without sleep is unflinching, and scariest of all it feels brilliantly contemporary. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
KENNETH CALHOUN has had stories published in The Paris Review, Tin House, and the 2011 Pen/O. Henry Prize Collection, among others. He lives in Boston, where he is a graphic design professor at Lasell College. Black Moon is his first novel.