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NPR Books

"But Black Moon isn't just another spin of the post-apocalypse plot wheel. Many authors have tackled the mystique of sleeplessness — but few have done so with the grotesque grace and poetic insight of Black Moon . . . Calhoun's biggest ideas, though, concern perception. His prose-rich passages of hallucinogenic abandon aren't psychedelic — they're razor-sharp. And they reflect a far more staggering truth: The breakdown of society doesn't happen when people can no longer agree on what's right or wrong. It happens when they can no longer agree on what's real. " [read more]

Barnes and Noble, The Spectator: Review

"Calhoun's parable about humanity distanced from the psychic sources of its own daily regeneration acquires another level of meaning. Civilization cannot exist without its dreamers. Luckily for us, we continue to have ones like Kenneth Calhoun doing the job so ably.” [read more]

Popmatters: Review

"Indeed, Black Moon would sit nicely on a shelf next to I Am Legend and Day of the Triffids. This is speculative fiction at its best: suspenseful, intelligent, moving, and sure to keep you awake.” [read more]

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The characters and their intersecting narratives are largely a showcase for the author’s almost unspeakably dark vision of a restless world. Calhoun’s depiction of the collapse of language, reason, and love in a world without sleep is unflinching, and—scariest of all—it feels brilliantly contemporary." [read more]

Library Journal: Book Verdict (starred review)

"VERDICT: Calhoun's literary dystopia, which features beautiful writing, arresting imagery, and powerful metaphors, will appeal to fans of Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles. It is not SF as much as a deeply lyrical exploration of humanity at the extremes." [read more]


"Surprising and unpredictable . . . In his first novel, Calhoun paints an all-too-believable landscape . . . His dark tale is allegorical and relevant in today’s zombie-infatuated zeitgeist. This clever twist on the dystopian formula is a standout." [read more]

Kirkus Review

"A novel about insomnia and dreams, and thus, almost by definition, it’s surreal. Calhoun’s premise is brilliant, and he follows it to its logical (and psychological) conclusion. What if gradually, everyone lost the ability to sleep? What would the world look like? How would contemporary culture shift on its axis? In this narrative, we follow a series of characters drastically affected by this shift, most of them pathological insomniacs, though a few retain their ability to sleep and thus become pariahs to the multitudes of the sleepless." [read more]

L.A. Review of Books

"Even with the large-scale destruction, the unlikelihood of a cure, the sheer totality of the ruin — Calhoun’s characters refuse to let go of hope. They doggedly try to save the people they love in the face of doom. In this way, Calhoun reaffirms the human spirit." [read more]

The Sunday Times: Review

"Unhinged but forgivable, murderous but — in their waking dreams and crumbling speech — strangely beautiful, Calhoun’s sleepless are a riff, of sorts, on the overdone zombie, and are horribly, terribly compelling." [read more]

The Guardian: Books Blog

"Calhoun adds a grim touch to his insomnia epidemic: the sleepless are driven into fits of homicidal rage by the very presence of a sleeper, and the novel is a heart-stopping quest to reach a west coast military base where a rumoured cure is being developed, all the while avoiding the shambling, violent insomniacs desperate for sleep." [read more]

The Daily Mail: Review

"It’s a brilliant and thought-provoking premise carried out with considerable style — Calhoun’s prose having the inventiveness and insight of a literate East Coast hipster . . ." [read more]

The Australian: Review

"Black Moon is an ambitious work that succeeds in providing a rich and thoughtful account of events that would shatter humanity. It stands apart from works that take a more straightforward path to the end of the world." [read more]

Library Journal: Spring Best Debuts

"A literary dystopia about a frightening epidemic of insomnia, this Discover Great New Writers pick got an LJ star as 'a deeply lyrical exploration of humanity at the extremes.'”

Barnes and Noble Book Blog: Fictional Maladies Article

"Calhoun’s book expertly builds tension as it plays out this fantastical, yet all-too-real scenario without blinking. There is little hope to be found in the intersecting stories of a few characters who search for loved ones, and for meaning in a dying world, amid possibly futile efforts to find a cure. Scariest of all is not the unsettling nature of the disease, but the plausibility of the breakdown that occurs in its wake.” [read more]

The LA Times: Review

"These scenes give the reader a good sense of what it's like to exist in the middle of disaster. Another thread, involving Felicia's lab research, is also compelling, with an undercurrent of the surreal as science grapples with matters of the subconscious." [read more]

Real Simple: Top Five Books to Read This Spring

"Gripping . . . The characters are all completely relatable. I found myself rooting for their survival from page one.”  [read more]

io9: Review

"The great strength of this novel is that it's utterly terrifying and poetically beautiful at the same time, and the two things feed on each other. Calhoun captures the way that people's syntax tends to degrade and become more tormented when they haven't slept in a long time, resulting in dialogue that feels like something out of William Carlos Williams." [read more]

The Financial Times: Review

"Calhoun vividly depicts the societal collapse that results when people are no longer able to differentiate dreaming from reality, and his prose is skilled and polished." [read more]

Culture Mass: Review

"GREAT: A beautifully constructed debut novel that takes a chance with multiple viewpoints." [read more]

The Maine Edge: Review

"There are plenty of apocalyptic offerings in the literary realm, but very few of them offer anything like the range and resonance of “Black Moon.” After reading it, you’ll never be happier to fall asleep." [read more]

The Columbus Dispatch: Review

"Is there anyone who hasn’t felt like a zombie after a night or two of missed sleep? Kenneth Calhoun’s haunting first novel, Black Moon, takes that experience to its logical extreme." [read more]

In Daily Adelaide Indy News: Review

"The idea of a world without sleep is intriguing, and Calhoun’s descriptive writing style enables him to paint a vivid picture of society on the brink of destruction. His characters are emotionally rich and his metaphoric musings provide an interesting perspective on the human condition." [read more]

Sydney Morning Herald: Review

"Kenneth Calhoun's debut is a ripper of a thriller. . . This suspenseful post-apocalyptic novel may well keep you up at night." [read more]

BookPage: Review

"The result is a thought-provoking meditation on the importance of human interaction and our reliance on the sleep-fed, rational mind . . . Black Moon flows through and over all those shambling, decaying genre expectations. Its themes may well haunt your dreams long after the book is laid down, but count yourself lucky—you can still dream." [read more]

The List: Review

"Calhoun’s choppy style of switching between characters and places won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it works perfectly for the subject matter. What better way to show the disconnection we feel when we haven’t slept?" [read more]

Lit Works: Review

"There is an element of the zombie apocalypse to Calhoun's novel, but it is more impressive than other comparable works, in that the writing leaps off the page, drawing us into the hallucinatory, sleep-deprived world . . .This is a thoughtful, highly imaginative novel." [read more]

Largehearted Boy: Book Notes Playlist

"Brilliantly conceived and thoughtfully executed, Kenneth Calhoun's Black Moon is one of the year's finest debut novels." [read more]

Book Browse: Review

"Fans of zombie entertainment will delight in this new take, but even readers who are not partial to zombies will appreciate this haunting investigation of what makes humans human. Calhoun's debut novel is unforgettable." [read more]

Book Munch: Review

"We’re hardly into spring, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Black Moon turns out to be the best debut novel of 2014." [read more]

Lit Reactor, Bookshots: Review

"Calhoun draws us in with something familiar, but then quickly subverts our expectations with a novel less concerned with action and violence (though he does deliver on this end), and more concerned with psychology and introspection." [read more]

Corduroy Books: Review

"Calhoun never resorts to zombie riff-raff nonsense. Even as the people grow slowly insane, the parents plot attempts to cut apart their sleeping daughter, wives have to be chained up to keep them from ripping apart their husbands as they sleep, they’re still deeply human." [read more]

Forbidden Planet: Review

"It is great writing by this first time author Kenneth Calhoun, very assured and confident . . . I really admired the ideas Kenneth Calhoun releases free-form within the narrative, ideas which in themselves would lend themselves to spin-off concepts. There is a languid morbidity to his use of language, a dreary unpleasantness which just about ticks all the boxes for me in terms of fireside apocalyptic entertainment." [read more]

Bark: Review

"It’s got everything – a plot that sweeps you up into its whirling tornado, characters that you want to see succeed (even as you know they all won’t), moments of hilarity in the middle of tragedy, and writing that I found more and more enviable with each page." [read more]

The Tattoed Book: Review

"Utterly addictive, totally engrossing and pure brilliance, Black Moon makes a compulsive read that deserves to be a massive hit." [read more]

My Bookish Ways: Review

"It’s not ironic at all that a book about insomnia will keep you up at night reading the whole damn thing in one sitting, is it? Simply put: stunning book, stunning ending, stunningly talented author. Put this one on your Must list." [read more]

Rick O'Shea Rickipedia: Review

"There are some beautiful images and turns of phrase in here (always meaning it’ll get my vote) and, in particular, two chapters spent with characters who are quickly losing their grip on reality that will make the bottom fall out of your stomach and realise that we are really only a few steps away at any given time from falling into the 9th circle of hell over the simplest change in our make-up." [read more]

One Day Perhaps I'll Know: Review

"There is an element of the zombie apocalypse to Calhoun's novel, but it is more impressive than other comparable works, in that the writing leaps off the page, drawing us into the hallucinatory, sleep-deprived world. We are left wondering what is real and what is not, and very often horrified by the events which unfold." [read more]