Deprivation by Roy Freirich
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
I don’t know if you have heard the news, but Meerkat Press have a new release, namely Deprivation by Roy Freirich.
I have had the pleasure of reading it, and here are my thoughts on it:
After a mysterious, silent child is found abandoned on the beach clutching a handheld video game, residents and tourists alike find themselves utterly unable to sleep. Exhaustion impairs judgment, delusions become hysteria, and mob rule explodes into shocking violence. Told from three perspectives: Chief of Police Mays tries to keep order, teenaged tourist Cort and her friends compete in a dangerous social media contest for the most hours awake, while local physician and former Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Sam Carlson battles his guilt over a student's suicide and the blurriness of his own insomnia, to try to treat the sleepless—until he and the child must flee the violent mob that blames the child for the epidemic.
I did not know what I got into when I started reading Deprivation, I was told this was a psychological thriller, and what it in reality is, is a disturbing suspenseful psychological thriller that leaves you breathless. Deprivation examines what happens to a civilized society when one key aspect is taken away from its inhabitants, too bad that in this case that aspect is sleep. Sleep is pretty important, and I think that is something most people would agree on, there is probably some madman with an online following spouting nonsense that sleep is a hoax perpetrated by “Big-Bed”.
Anyways, in Deprivationsleeplessness spreads like wildfire in the vacation bonanza that is Carratuck Island, at first people are just tired from the lack of sleep, Sam, the local doctor is in full swing administering medical help to the vacationers, healing the sunburns and other menial vacation injuries. Sam start to notice that more and more people complain that they cannot sleep. At the same time, there is the discovery of an abandoned young boy that won’t talk, the local chief brings the boy to Sam for medical attention and care.
Then as the days pass by, more and more people are going sleepless, and people’s minds are slowly deteriorating, Sam, and the chief, tries to uncover the mystery of both the silent boy and why nobody is able to sleep. If you think you are cranky in the morning, imagine how cranky these people get! Tensions run high!
We also follow a young girl named Cort, who is participating in a twitter challenge with her friends, and who is at the same time reconnecting with a young boy she had met previously on Carratuck Island. I just want to say that quite often writers have a tendency to write teenage girls as very whiny and annoying, this is not the case here, Freirich have done some excellent character building here creating a well faceted albeit side lined character, the only issue I have with this book is that I would have liked to see more from Cort’s perspective as the events unfold on the island.
There are intermittent snippets of descriptions of Carratuck Island inhabitants slowly decent into madness. Some of these snippets works as plot points, but they are so seamlessly woven into the story that you don’t notice that they are plot points to begin with.
What really stands out in Deprivation,is how well done the decent into madness that the inhabitants of Carratuck Island experiences, at first it is bouts of tiredness, slight headaches, problems focusing etc. Then, apathy, paranoia, hallucinations, anger, bouts of violence and suicidal thoughts, it is nerve wrecking! It is done in a way that feels like it is almost suggestive, I found myself having problems sleeping during the period I read this book.
With Deprivation, Roy Freirich have created a fine example of well written prose! A prose that has a cinematic feel to it.
It is fast paced and engaging. And is populated with a plethora of well-developed characters.
Do yourself a favour and get this book, because this is a book that will stay with you for a long time after reading!
I give this book a strong 4/5 sleepless nights.