Much of the writing in Samantha Harvey’s “The Shapeless Unease” mirrors the logic of the sleep-starved brain, reports The New Yorker.
There is no cure for insomnia. Like rain, or luck, or mercy, it comes and goes at will. There is “sleep hygiene,” the very wording of which seems to chide the insomniac for dirty habits, and which, more insultingly still, doesn’t help. Watching Samantha Harvey obliterate the advice that’s so often and so smugly offered to the exhausted—“Have you thought about a blackout blind?” “Why don’t you spray some lavender on your pillow?”—is one of the grim pleasures of “The Shapeless Unease,” Harvey’s new memoir about a year spent chasing a basic human need.