Samantha Harvey

The Shapeless Unease
  • The Shapeless Unease

  • In this astonishingly powerful memoir about insomnia, acclaimed novelist Samantha Harvey explores everything that is keeping her – and the nation – awake at night

    ‘Insomnia has turned me into a haggler. I’m always looking for the next thing I can trade with it or the next thing I can get from it, or the next bit of leverage I can use to cut a deal. . .’

    For months Samantha Harvey has been enduring many sleepless nights in a row, grieving for her late cousin, angry about Brexit, worrying about getting older, caught up in problems from her past, desperate to stop thinking. . . Finding herself unable to write fiction, she decided to write about her affliction instead. The result is perhaps her most urgent and inventive work to date.

    The Shapeless Unease is a beautiful, shape-shifting book, moving seamlessly from quasi-surreal scenes in which Harvey describes the sensation of being awake for nights and days on end, to painful appointments with a GP who is running low on time, resources and sympathy, to thoughtful enquiries into the roots of her insomnia. It is a vivid, unsettling reflection of the things we all lose sleep over.

RELEASED 09/01/2020

Samantha Harvey is the author of The Wilderness, All Is Song, Dear Thief and The Western Wind. She appeared on the longlists for the Bailey’s Prize and the Man Booker, and the shortlists of the James Tait Black Award, the Orange Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the Walter Scott Prize. The Wilderness won the Betty Trask Award in 2009. She is a tutor on the MA course in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.