Book Review: Nothing by Blake Butler
October 29, 2011 17 Comments
The book was a bit disappointing for me, I would have liked some more research information. Also the writing style, sometimes very much stream of conciousness, wasn’t quite my sort of thing.
Nothing: What it is about
Blake Butler suffers from insomnia and in this book, he highlights every aspect of the affliction. He discusses a lot about his youth, about insomnia when he was young, but also many other topics from his youth.
There is some reference to research on insomnia, and on all the external and internal stimuli that keep him from sleeping. He also talks about the time he was awake for 129 hours consecutively.
He discusses internet obsession, the use of sleeping pills, the thoughts he may have when in bed trying to sleep, and other topics relating to (his) insomnia.
Nothing: What I thought
The book is written in a rather inaccessible prose, for me at least. There is rambling, there is stream of consciousness and there are philosophical bits that I understood and liked, followed by passages where I had no idea what Butler was talking about.
Some of what he mentions is recognisable: how your mind wanders when you try to sleep, which particular factors might keep you from sleeping.
I had hoped for some more reference to sleep research, which is a fascinating topic, even if I don’t suffer from insomnia on a regular basis.
This book is a perfect example of literary non-fiction, if you were doubtful it existed. It’s not for me, but if you’re a lover of good, serious, literary, “deep” writing, then this is your book!
I got this book: from the publishers Harper Perennial, for review
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 319
First published: October 2011
Genre: memoir, literary non-fiction