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Insomnia

Written by: Stephen King
Narrated by: Eli Wallach
Length: 25 hrs and 39 mins
4 out of 5 stars (94 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A number-one national best seller

Since his wife died, Ralph Roberts has been having trouble sleeping. Each night he wakes up a bit earlier until he's barely sleeping at all. During his late-night walks, he observes some strange things going on in Derry, Maine. He sees colored ribbons streaming from people's heads, two strange little men wandering around town after dark, and more. He begins to suspect that these visions are something more than hallucinations brought on by lack of sleep.

There's a definite mean streak running through this small New England city; underneath its ordinary surface awesome and terrifying forces are at work. The dying has been going on in Derry for a long, long time. Now Ralph is part of it...and lack of sleep is the least of his worries.

Returning to the same Maine town where It took place, a town that has haunted Stephen King for decades, Insomnia blends King's trademark bone-chilling realism with supernatural terror to create yet another masterpiece of suspense.

©1994 Stephen King (P)1994 Penguin Highbridge Audio

What the critics say

"A yarn so packed with suspense, romance, literary reference, fascinating miscellaneous knowledge, and heart that only Stephen King could have written it. Marvelous - that is, full of marvels." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not sure about this one

I had a really hard time getting into this one. The musical interludes were way to loud! I disliked them thoroughly! When you listen to audio books with ear buds like I do, the speaking parts would be fine and then the music would blast so loud sometimes... Not enjoyable. There was a nod to the dark tower.... Which I haven't read but maybe I will try yet. I'm really not sure about this one, I found myself not paying attention to it a lot and not really missing anything. I may return this one!

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

I very much enjoyed this story and it’s connections to the dark tower. My only issue with it is the music that was played over the reading in some areas made the story hard to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

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Good story, great narration, awful production

Insomnia is a cool story from King that ties very well into the King multiverse. Wallach does a fantastic job bringing the story to life but the production is very distracting and totally breaks the immersion into the story. Seemingly every 5 - 10 minutes you get loud music and just horrible sounds playing over the Eli's narration which just seems disrespectful to the awesome work he does.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A weak Stephen King book. Bad audio production

I found this, unlike most of Stephen kings books, almost tiresome and did not keep my attention.
The near ration by Eli Wallach was OK, but the use of music at times was very distracting and took away hugely from the book. The music over powered the near ration. And was particularly irritating.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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meh

the music was absolutely horrendous, completely overriding the readers voice. It was annoying and nerve rattling music. not one of my favorite Stephen King books.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The sound design is absurd

Decent book but this is the third time I have almost given up because of the ridiculous sound design. Not a big fan of music in audiobooks, but this is insane. The story is good, the narration is great, but nobody needs random overdriven electric guitar in an audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sound mixing is terrible.

Story is an interesting premise and it does have an introduction to the Dark Tower series. The musical interludes are too loud, cover up some of the narration, and incredibly grating on ones nerves.
Eli does a great performance, but its marred by instrumentals screaming over the words.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Music is so, so bad

Love everything King so of course tried to love this story. I don't mind the narrator's voice at all but I'm very annoyed by the music inserted throughout unfortunately.
update- Finally finished this book. That was a long and painful experience. The music is so excessive and this book is very dry.

1 person found this helpful

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Overall

Ok book but lose the music/noise at the end of chapters . Narrator could use more voices.

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Love the book. Despise this version.

I've read the book repeatedly over the years and have always loved it. It's actually one of my favourite King books, but I'm only 3 chapters into this audio version and I am definitely not loving the added music.

It's WAY too loud (this coming from a rocker chick who always listens to any music at top volume), so I can't hear the man speaking at all. Along with being super annoying, I can't wait for it to stop so I can try and catch up to what's going on. It doesn't even fit the moments in the slightest, so I'm not sure what emotions it's trying to portray/enhance because it simply doesn't match what's happening.

I guess, for being a Stephen king book, the music does win in one way... When it randomly (and loudly) comes on, it scares the ever loving crap outta you. Not a version to listen to if you're trying to chill and/or fall asleep.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • LoriA
  • 2016-01-24

Great story, horrible production!

I want to know what insane audiobook producer thought putting HUGELY ANNOYING music into the background in seemingly random places at quite a high volume level was a good idea?! I'd like to wring his neck! So distracting it was difficult to focus on the narrator, who was good, btw. As was the story.

199 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • NanaReads
  • 2017-08-30

Do yourself a favor and read this one.

This is one of Kings best Derry tales. It weaves themes and characters from the Dark Tower into a combined love story and horror yarn all its own. But the audio production does not do it justice. He reader's speaking voice is reminiscent of that of the narrator in Disney's Winnie the Pooh cartoon. For a horror story. Seriously? Then there is the annoying hissing sound behind the reader's voice during the first few hours. Bad sound engineering or failed dramatic effect? Unacceptable. The blaring discordant "music" throughout was unnecessary and a discredit to the book. Audible.com should mark such productions with an asterisk so that listeners who want the simplicity of a good story and a professional reader will not waste money on bad attempts at radio theater. Buy the paperback. Buy the ebook. Just do not buy this unless you need these theatrical props.

89 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • X
  • 2017-09-03

Horrible Music Throughout- Ruined the Story

Why does anyone put music into an audiobook?! Especially if it's terrible music that is obnoxious, distracting, and irrelevant (it's not a climactic moment yet there are screeching violins). Ruined the story for me.

40 people found this helpful

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  • jennifer
  • 2016-04-24

sound effects ruined it

the sound effects were not only irritating and grating but couldn't hear what was being said over them

140 people found this helpful

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  • wvfrog22
  • 2016-05-09

Insomnia

I enjoyed the story and the narrator. The issue I had was with the random musical accompaniment at the end of chapters. It was much louder than the narrator and was not necessary, in my opinion.

55 people found this helpful

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  • Leigh Roden
  • 2016-04-15

Book Good - Background effetcts BAD

I had read this book many years ago and was glad to find it here. I often listen to books while accomplishing my daily tasks. I mainly listen as I fall asleep at night. I set the timer for 30 minutes and drift off. this book prevented me from doing that. The background guitar scratching and screeching sound effects made it so difficult to listen to. It would often blast into the audio near the end and beginning of a chapter obscuring, more often than not, the words of the narrator. I have some trouble hearing lower tones and so I must turn the volume up to hear male narrators. The startling sound of a screeching guitar made me jump every time. It was so much worse when I was trying to fall asleep. I couldn't go back to sleep. I had to stop listening while I fell asleep and it took forever to get through the book.

Please don't add background "music " to the books!

The content and narrator were EXCELLENT though!

64 people found this helpful

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  • Rebekah
  • 2016-04-18

Weird music intervals

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the narration. However, the only thing that really annoyed me was the random bits of music that they stuck in to add to the emotion...it was unnecessary and really annoying. And the music was louder than the narration so randomly, as you try to listen close, a loud screeching violin bursts your eardrums...also waste your time when you are trying to follow the story

27 people found this helpful

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  • A.M.E.
  • 2017-08-30

I love this book, but the music nearly killed it

I have read Insomnia twice before and I love the story. This is the first time I've listened to the audio performance, and while the narration itself is very good, the music that pops up at exciting or emotional moments almost made me quit listening several times. At first it was just annoying, but when you're listening with headphones to fairly even toned narration and all of sudden are blasted by screaming guitar, or when you're listening to intense dialogue that is drowned out by louder than necessary music, it's frustrating beyond belief. I made it through, but I cursed the music every time it popped up. I highly recommend the book, especially if you're a fan of the Dark Tower series as it ties in with it amazingly well, but be prepared to be bombarded by unnecessary musical accents.

23 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • donos
  • 2016-02-03

Music mix sucks!

This is an interesting story and Eli Wallach does a good job narrating but the music selection and mix IS TERRIBLE! I'm still listening to it but every time the bloody music screams at me or DROWNS OUT THE NARRATOR I feel like quitting the book or returning it. Haven't yet decided to try to tough it out. And for this I pay??

54 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2016-04-18

Great book! Bad performance!

I didn't care at all for the music throughout the book. The reader was okay but not great. I feel like the producer missed the mark, however don't let that detour you from a great book. It was worth the effort to get through the crazy production.

29 people found this helpful