|Insomnia is the story of Ralph, an old man who starts suffering with insomnia after the death of his wife.
Each morning Ralph wakes up earlier and earlier. Then he starts seeing the world in more vivid colour than he ever thought was possible – as he begins to see auras. For Ralph seeing auras can be beautiful and enlightening, but it can be awful and even grotesque.
Ralph thinks he is alone in his suffering with insomnia and his sensing of auras. That is until he confides in his friend Lois. Lois discloses that she has been experiencing the same. Ralph and Lois work out that when they see the auras they are going up to a higher plane of existence.
While Ralph is on this higher plane he sees a little odd alien-looking man wearing a white coat and with a scalpel in his hand. The man is after street dog. Ralph interferes and the man calls Ralph a short-timer and threatens him. This man turns out to be working for the higher power of Random.
Ralph and Lois then meet two other little odd alien-looking men wearing white coats, one carrying a pair of scissors in his hand. These men are working for the higher power of Purpose. The men recruit Ralph and Lois to save the life of a child, as the child will be important in the future. Ralph and Lois agree to help the men, as they maybe able to save the lives of thousands of people, including that of their friend Helen and her daughter Natalie.
But Random have recruited Helen’s husband Ed, well before Ralph and Lois became involved.
Both of the higher powers of Random and Purpose are fighting for their own causes, with their own bigger pictures in mind and the stakes are high. But these reasons are unknown and perhaps incomprehensible to Ralph and Lois as short-timers.
The description in Insomnia is exquisitely and perfectly crafted. It allows the reader imagine everything that Ralph and Lois sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells (in all senses of the words).
The plot is endlessly inventive, expertly executed, riveting and dealing with life and death and everything in-between.
The pacing is much slower than any of King’s books that I have previously read. At times during the reading it felt as though the pacing slowed to a belly crawl. But the slower pace did suit main character Ralph, an Old Age Pensioner (OAP) and one that is severely deprived of sleep.