On average, how much would you say you sleep? Have you ever really thought about it? If you suffer from chronic insomnia like Travis Besecker, you have.
On your sleepless nights, what keeps you awake? Worries about money, or how you could have handled a previous interaction better? Is it ever a fear of infinity, and the vast nothingness that surrounds us and looks down from the night sky? If you suffer from apeirophobia like Travis Besecker, it is.
Besecker’s new novel, Lost in Infinity is a chronicle of his life-long battle with insomnia and the ugly, and often times, dangerous side effects that can occur due to extreme sleep deprivation. He tells his story of pain, frustration, and fear of the unknown. His tale is sad, funny, extremely moving, and also, at times, deeply unsettling. Besecker is a person that almost everyone can relate to, in one way or another, which makes his story all the more powerful.
Lost in Infinity follows Travis Besecker on a sometimes sporadic timeline from early childhood to the present as he deals with his inability to “sleep like a normal kid,” and his boundless fear. Besecker’s journey takes us to him as a small boy, sitting in the visiting area of a mental institution reminiscent of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and to the night more than 20 years in the future, when he slams his car into a guardrail after falling asleep at the wheel. He tells of his well-meaning parents who tried to help a child they loved but didn’t understand. He explains his constant need to be involved in numerous projects and his fight to succeed at everything he does as an attempt to silence the Shadow Man.
I received and read Lost in Infinity in the same day. That was in part due to the fact that I had agreed to write this review when I was finished with the novel; I don’t like to keep people waiting. But mostly, it was due to the fact that I absolutely couldn’t put the book down.
I don’t want to give away the story of Besecker’s trials but I will give my reaction to it:
My arms were covered in goose bumps for the duration of the first two chapters, a feeling I described as finding Besecker “eerily relatable.” There were so many ways in which I felt a kinship to this person I was reading about. My mind raced with every passing page and my heart pounded with emotion. There was more than one moment where I wanted to hug this scared and frustrated little boy. Two-thirds of the way into Besecker’s work, I realized there were probably 20 different ways his story could end, and no matter what path the novel took, I knew it would be the right one. I don’t think I have ever been so confident of a novel’s genuine goodness since I began reading them at age 7. Lost in Infinity is a book that I will be returning to for another read many, many more times to come.
THANK YOU LAINEY! I love this!