Laurie Canciani – The Insomnia Museum


Believe the accolades for The Insomnia Museum. It is indeed an original piece of work, with a unique voice narrating it. In some places it surprises and in others it shocks. It is simultaneously a coming of age tale and a symbolic story about escapism.

This all done through, Anna, a 17 year old who has been trapped inside her house for a long time. Her father collects junk and tries to fix it. Anna herself knows that there is an outside world but she is not allowed to explore and coupled with the fact that she is illiterate, thus her only way to cope is to fix junk and watch a videotape of  The Wizard of OZ endlessly, which she stops at the same spot (the bit where Dorothy is about to return to Kansas)

On hearing the news of her missing mother’s death, Anna’s father dies and she is picked up by a man called Lucky and they head off to his house. At this point this is where the novel takes off as then Anna undergoes the trials and tribulations of experiencing the outside world. Mostly the focus is on her relationship with Lucky’s wayward son Matthew.

As such I found The Insomnia Museum interesting, sure there are similar plots like Claire Fuller’s Our Endless Numbered Days and to a certain extent Emma Donaghue’s Room but The Insomnia Museum is the more intense novel. Sometimes I did feel that the writing meandered but it is an unusual reading experience.

Ultimately The Insomnia Museum is a weird little cultish novel that stands out, despite its faults. It is a one of a kind sort of novel that crops up now and then.

Many Thanks to Head of Zeus for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.