Albert Camus

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Monday, March 2, 2020

a truly vital, beautiful need... Deprivation by Roy Freirich

"Extremely well written, with precise and convincing descriptions, realistic characters and deep-reaching plot "Deprivation" is a must-read." Seb D., Goodreads


Release Date: March 3rd, 2020

A gripping psychological thriller from the author of Winged Creatures. August, Carratuck Island, New York: a silent child is found abandoned on the beach clutching a handheld video game, and residents and tourists alike find themselves stricken by relentless insomnia.

Denied the outlet of dreams—fears, guilt, and primal urges find other ways to surface. A teenage girl competes in an online game: who can stay awake longest? The bleary police chief struggles to keep order. The local doctor battles the ghosts of his past to find the cause and a cure for the epidemic, and face down the violent mob that blames the child.

Cut off from the mainland, the island plunges into chaos, murder, and suicide.


For me, sleep is profoundly about a truly vital, beautiful need—for escape.

From three things: effort, consequence, and the past.

Most of us, most of the time, are variously trying, are attempting, something. There’s effort at work, of course, and the ever-present to-do list for home and family, and even effort during time-outs for ourselves, ironically, when we’re following the tricky plot of Westworld, or trying to decide what take-out to order. Sleep, when we get there, is finally a true respite from trying, which is lovely to contemplate, and even lovelier to experience deeply and often.

The second escape, from consequence, isn’t so bad either. For the one third of our lives we sleep (or should be asleep), we’re not responsible for what happens in the other two thirds. It’s not our fault! How wonderful to say that and have it be true!

The third escape, from the past, became a central conceit and drove the characters’ individual dramas in the novel DEPRIVATION.

Here’s how: in dreams, we defuse the emotions connected to unresolved experiences in our lives. We’ve all had these moments, from any sort of unfulfilled wishes, desires for a “do-over,” from small regrets to more serious trauma from violence, catastrophe, death. In dreams, we replay versions of these, variously disguised or symbolized, more safely, and so become less driven by them.

As a novelist (and habitual worrier), this brought me a question: What if we couldn’t dream, because we couldn’t we couldn’t sleep? How many nights would it take to for the unconscious to find ways to surface in our waking lives?

The novel and the research behind it suggest that after four or five nights of total sleep deprivation we lose the emotional stability that dreams maintain, and our unique preoccupations, desires, misconceptions, and fears could spiral into obsessions, urges, delusions and paranoia. It’s more than slurred speech and stumbling and impaired judgment—we’ll each go crazy in our own special way.

Multiply by ten nights, by the population of a New England vacation island in August, and you have the spiraling chaos of the novel, DEPRIVATION.

About the author:
Roy Freirich leads multiple lives as a writer. He adapted his novel Winged Creatures for the film Fragments, and has written screenplays for Fox Searchlight, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, and Sony. His lyrics have been sung by legends Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and Patti Labelle, among many others. He lives with his wife, ever-patient editor and frequent cowriter, Debrah, in Malibu, California. Visit him online 

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