Insomnia by Marina Benjamin
Insomnia by Marina Benjamin

Insomnia by Marina Benjamin

$ 18.95
On Sale November 13, 2018 | ISBN: 9781948226059
An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Pick
"A short, ludic book about long white nights . . . [Benjamin] writes feelingly about the frustrations of being awake when you don’t want to be . . . Her moans about her futile thought-loops alternate with flattering descriptions of her radiant nocturnal consciousness."The New Yorker
“Velvety ruminations on night wakefulness . . . Benjamin's mind works like a wide-roving trawler that rakes an area repeatedly before moving on to adjacent territory . . .  Insomnia turns out to be somewhat of a celebration of sleeplessness as well as a lament . . . and is filled with memorable images.” —Heller McAlpin, NPR

Insomnia is on the rise. Villainous and unforgiving, it’s the enemy of energy and focus, the thief of our repose. But can insomnia be an ally, too, a validator of the present moment, of edginess and creativity? Marina Benjamin takes on her personal experience of the condition—her struggles with it, her insomniac highs, and her dawning awareness that states of sleeplessness grant us valuable insights into the workings of our unconscious minds. Although insomnia is rarely entirely welcome, Benjamin treats it less as an affliction than as an encounter that she engages with and plumbs. She adds new dimensions to both our understanding of sleep (and going without it) and of night, and how we perceive darkness.

Along the way, Insomnia trips through illuminating material from literature, art, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and more. Benjamin pays particular attention to the relationship between women and sleep—Penelope up all night, unraveling her day’s weaving for Odysseus; the Pre-Raphaelite artists’ depictions of deeply sleeping women; and the worries that keep contemporary females awake. Insomnia is an intense, lyrical, witty, and humane exploration of a state we too often consider only superficially. “This is the song of insomnia, and I shall sing it,” Marina Benjamin declares.


Marina Benjamin is the author of three previous memoirs, Rocket Dreams, short-listed for the Eugene Emme Award, Last Days in Babylon, long-listed for the Wingate Prize, and The Middlepause, finalist for the Arts Foundation's Creative Nonfiction Award. She has also worked as a journalist, her pieces appearing in The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Independent, and other British newspapers, and she has served as arts editor at the New Statesman and deputy arts editor at the Evening Standard. She is currently a senior editor at the digital magazine Aeon.