Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

Posted On 31 March 2022

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : I liked it a lot

Insomnia1

I’m always indescribably happy when I see that SP has a new book.  I’ve followed her work for a while now and really enjoy her writing.  To put the cat among the pigeons I would say that not only did I like Insomnia but I liked it more than Behind Her Eyes.  It’s a perfect jumble of crazy mixed up, spiralling out of control, sleepless insanity.  Every time I thought I had a handle on what was going on it turned out I was wrong and I just love the way that the ending is totally out there – let’s just say #wtfthatending – in fact maybe that hashtag will apply for all SP’s books.

To be fair, if you’ve read Pinborough you’ll be aware that her books often wander into strange territory, tales of the unexpected if you like.  There are usually elements of magical realism that surface as the book progresses but this is usually coupled with such a straightforward and contemporary style that it’s always a surprise.

Insomnia starts with Emma Averell approaching her 40th birthday.  Lots of people approach the big 4-oh with a little bit of trepidation but in Emma’s case this is exacerbated by events from her past.

Emma has an almost picture postcard existence.  A successful career, a loving-stay-at-home husband, two lovely children, a gorgeous house and an impending partnership.  Things are looking peachy until a few days before her birthday she wakes in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. I’m not going to discuss the plot any further because this is a book that is probably best explored with no knowledge beforehand.

Why did I like this book.

Well, firstly it’s deceptive.  When I first picked this up I thought I knew what was going on, but I really didn’t.  You need a level of patience here because as Emma’s sleepless nights continue her grip on reality begins to crumble.  She reflects on things from the past, particularly when people she hasn’t seen for years show up. And then the cracks start to appear.  Maybe Emma’s life isn’t as perfect as it first appeared.

Secondly, it’s frustrating, repetitive and mind bending in the best ways possible.  Here is a woman who thinks she’s going crazy.  Hell, I thought she was going crazy at many points during the story.  It’s an acknowledgement to the power of sleep and that period of restoration that your brain needs to function in a productive way.  I veered between perplexed, annoyed and flummoxed.  Why has Emma’ s life suddenly gone so haywire, why weren’t her family more supportive and what was going on at night when she completely lost periods of time – scary.

On top of this there are a few characters who dip in and out and Pinborough manages to paint them all in differing shades of suspicion.  The husband, does he resent his wife’s success?  The neighbours and the possibility of affairs.  Emma’s sister appearing out of the blue?  The client’s ex.  Even (especially) Emma.

For me, the best part of this novel is that I felt immersed in Emma’s world.  I was going slightly crazy myself and i don’t mean simply because I was staying up too late to function, I wanted to shake Emma, come on woman, snap out of it, pull yourself together.  Stop doing things that make you look insane.  But then, maybe she is insane!  She’s a hot mess of fear to put it bluntly.  She doesn’t know if she’s following in her mother’s footsteps, she doesn’t know if she’s a danger to her family, she doesn’t know if she’s committed terrible acts, she doesn’t know if somebody else has committed these terrible acts and, like Emma, I didn’t know either and it was driving me a little crazy too.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I’m not sure that the eventual reveal will wow everyone.  It takes something of a leap but it was a leap that was easy for me to take so not a criticism so much as a ‘be aware’.

I found Insomnia an easy book to read.  It took me through plenty of emotions along the way not least of all my extreme happiness that I can fall asleep at night.  A twisty thriller with plenty of tension, well written and easy to conjure in the mind’s eye.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday Post

I’m trying to get back into the habit of doing a round-up of the week just completed and also take a look at my plans for the forthcoming week.  I rather got out of the habit of doing this but I would like to reinstate this type of post as I feel it keeps me on track.  So, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Kimberly’s  Caffeinated Reviewer.  Without further ado:

This week has been a busy one although I’m not entirely sure why – the time seems to have flown by and I’ve barely had chance to break open my laptop or write up posts, but, I did manage to complete the two books that I wanted to so I’ll take that.  I read my SPFBO finalist and now have three books remaining (one of which I’ve made a start on) and I also read Insomnia which is quite possibly my favourite Pinborough so far and very aptly named because I feel like I suffered some sleeplessness myself whilst reading!  (Mainly due to ‘just one more chapter’ syndrome).  I haven’t managed to post any reviews so the blog may be a little busy this week.

Books read this week:

1 x SPFBO finalist

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

Insomnia1

  1. We Men of Ash and Shadow by HL Tinsley (SPFBO Finalist)

Wemen

  1. City of Dusk by Tara Sim
  2. Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

Friday Face Off : A book with a one word title

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:

A book with a one word title

Hopefully this is a nice easy theme.  I’ve read quite a lot of books over the years with just one word but as I’m all about showcasing the latest releases as often as possible I’m going to go with a book that I’ve literally just started reading.  Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough.  There’s only two cover this week so lets take a look:

2022

Apr
1st Spring forward – compare the covers for two books you’re excited about
8th – Fresh and Green – a cover that is predominantly green
15th Genre – a book or series that is urban fantasy
22nd – Tough Travel Tropes – unknown magical ability
29th – Long/pointed ears
May the Month of Wyrd and Wonder
6th All about the women – kickass moms, daughters, grans, etc
13th A favourite book to film
20th Sunny and bright  – a cover that is predominantly yellow
27th Books with ‘You’ in the title
Jun
3rd  Under the Sea – anything you like
10th Sparkling like the sea – a cover that is turquoise
17th So pretty – exactly what it says
24th Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role
Jul  
1st Genre – epic – any book that fits into the genre
8th Hazy and hot – a cover that is predominantly orange
15th Tough Travel Tropes – Snarky sidekick
22nd Off the TBR
29th Gigantic – monsters, giants, buildings,insects – anything at all
August
5th Tough Travel Tropes – out for summer – school or academic setting
12th Dark/sky/navy  – a cover that is blue
19th Scantily Dressed
26th Tough Travel Tropes – Vacation time – the quest
September RIP
2nd Fallen leaves – covers that are brown
9th Armour/Protection
16th Rage against the machine – anything, cogs, clockwork, AI
23rd Tough Travel Tropes – Coming of Age
30th Genre – horror
October – Horror/Dark
7th Guess who’s back?  – Vampires – popular again?
14th Witches vs warlocks
21st Tough Travel Tropes – Good vs evil
28th  Covers that are black
November – Scifi Month
4th Red skies at night – Covers that are red
11th Tough Travel Tropes – The gang
18th Genre – Swords and Sorcery
25th Genre – And they all lived happily ever after – fairy tales retold
December
2nd Tough Travel Tropes – Assassins
9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or serie

Friday Face Off : Framed – more meanings than one.

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Framed – more meanings than one.  A cover with a frame, a picture within a cover or a murder mystery set up??

So, I’m back.  I had such a good time with the family but now I have lots of catching up to do.  I’ll be blog hopping and seeing what I’ve missed slowly but surely over the coming week.

I had a few different books that I could have used this week and the eventual one I’ve chosen has a few covers that all fit perfectly.  The Death House by Sarah Pinborough.  Here are this week’s covers:

These three all fit the theme in more than one way:

The first has a series of windows casting light over the bed frames lined up against the wall.  The second appears to be a doorway, framed by windows and the scene itself set within what appears to be branches.  Third has is a cover edged in a frame of black with a doorway/frame.

My favourite this week:

DH5

Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – White – a cover that is predominantly white

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

201

31st July – White – a cover that is predominantly white

7th August – Action – a cover that depicts action of some sort

14th August – Glasses or spectacles – “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.”

21st August – Potions –  hubble bubble

28th August – Dark road – ‘the road goes ever on and on’

4th September – Cold and crisp – any cover that gives you winter vibes

11th September – A cover with a pattern

18th September – Minimalistic and lacking clutter

25th September – A very busy cover full to bursting with detail

2nd October – A standout font

9th October – Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

16th October – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

23th October – Ripped/torn – interpret it as you wish

30th October – Forest/jungle – ‘None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.’

6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

Friday Face Off : Windows to the Soul

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Windows – windows to the soul?

So, in sticking with my desire to go with recent reads I’ve gone with a great read from a favourite author: Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough.  I’m interpreting windows – as ‘eyes’ which are sometimes called windows to the soul – you could also literally choose a book with a window or windows.  Hopefully everyone found this week’s theme relatively easy.  Not a lot of covers, in fact, okay, two, but so very different.  Take a look:

I like both covers for different reasons but my favourite:

Deadtoher

I mean, the second cover is great, deceptive even.  The woman in the pool, immediately gives off a summer vibe beach read but then the title with the blood red gives a different feeling altogether.   But this cover is classy.  You might not at first glance miss the person reflected in the glasses so that’s just an additional extra.  But there’s something very cold and clipped and perfectly manicured about this and for some reason it gives me the chills.

So, which is your favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – Tentacles – ‘The sea brought you.  The sea shall have you back’

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

3rd July – Tentacles – ‘The sea brought you.  The sea shall have you back’

10th July – Tunnel – ‘At the end of every light, is a tunnel of darkness.’

17th July – holding an object – just as it seems

24th July – Framed – more meaning than one.  A cover with a frame, a picture within a cover or a murder mystery set up??

31st July – White – a cover that is predominantly white

7th August – Action – a cover that depicts action of some sort

14th August – Glasses or spectacles – “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.”

21st August – Potions –  hubble bubble

28th August – Dark road – ‘the road goes ever on and on’

4th September – Cold and crisp – any cover that gives you winter vibes

11th September – A cover with a pattern

18th September – Minimalistic and lacking clutter

25th September – A very busy cover full to bursting with detail

2nd October – A standout font

9th October – Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

16th October – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

23th October – Ripped/torn – interpret it as you wish

30th October – Forest/jungle – ‘None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.’

6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

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