TagAdrian Barnes

Books of the 2010s: Fifty Memories, nos. 40-31

Welcome to the second part of my countdown of 50 bookish memories from the 2010s. The first part went up last week, with the rest to follow each Sunday.

Compiling this list has made me realise just how idiosyncratic a personal reading history is. I read quite a lot of debuts, especially at the start of the decade, and didn’t begin reading works in translation seriously until about 2014. Both of those factors have helped shape my list. When I looked through some other ‘best of the decade’ lists, I was surprised at how few matches I saw with mine. But perhaps that’s how it was always going to be. Anyway, on to the next set of books…

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Adrian Barnes, Nod (2012): Strange Horizons review

I have a new review up at Strange Horizons today, of Adrian Barnes’s superb debut novel, Nod. I read it shortly after contributing to the debate on freshness in works of the fantastic, and it struck me as just the sort of thing I wanted to see.

In Nod, most of the world’s population loses the ability to sleep, which leads to psychosis within a few days – to the point where people’s perceptions can be manipulated with a word. Barnes tells of the power plays – the literal war or words – that goes on in a corner of Vancouver.

What interests me most about this novel is its pervading sense of unease at a situation which is all-consuming for its characters, yet is explicitly temporary. It makes for a fascinating read.

Click here to read my review of Nod in full.

This book has been shortlisted for the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Click here to read my other posts on this year’s Award.

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