Some fine work here, mostly new, utilizing sleeplessness as a theme or starting point and comprising, the editors note, ``a catalog of experiences and a way of understanding a massive cultural phenomenon.'' While labeling insomnia a ``cultural phenomenon'' may overstate the case, literary agent Cheney and book editor Hubbert do have a point when they claim that the malady ``is so widespread among writers that it seems almost a prerequisite.'' They cite the well-known insomnia of such figures as Mark Twain, Vladimir Nabokov, and the Brontâs, although none of them are represented in this collection of essays and stories. F. Scott Fitzgerald's ``Sleeping and Waking'' (from The Crack-Up), one of the few older pieces, is as powerful now as it was in the 1930s.
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