The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping

Grove. May 2020. 192p. ISBN 9780802148827. $26. MEMOIR
The death of her cousin in 2016 was the catalyst for an existential crisis that had novelist Harvey (The Wilderness) continually reflecting on the concept of death and the inevitable dissolution of the physical presence. The thought of her relative in his coffin underground would stimulate rapid heart palpitations and uncontrollable panic, and Harvey began to suffer from insomnia as a result of her anxiety. The desire for sleep, and the denial of it, created feelings of anger, loneliness, despair, and fear. She tried multiple remedies to solve her issues, including medication and therapy, without success. Harvey argues the writing process saved her during this period, providing her with an escape from her thoughts of death and bringing some happiness to her life.
VERDICT Recommended for those curious about the creative process and the devastating effects of sleep deprivation. [See Prepub Alert, 11/25/19.]
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