The Insomnia Museum by Laurie Canciani
(Head of Zeus, 2018)

The Insomnia Museum

by Laurie Canciani

Anna lives in a flat with dad. He is a hoarder, and together they have spent the last 12 years constructing the Insomnia Museum, a labyrinth built from dead TVs, old cuckoo clocks, stacks of newspapers and other junk Dad has found.

Anna is 17. She can’t remember ever having seen outside the flat, but noises penetrate her isolated world: dogs bark in the walls; music plays in the floor, and a ship sails through the canyons between the tower blocks. Then one day dad falls asleep and won’t wake up, and Anna must leave the museum and try to survive in a place that turns out to be stranger and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

It this dazzlingly original debut novel, Laurie Canciani has created a world that is terrible, magical, and richly imagined.


The language pops and the narrator absolutely convinces in this risky, real novel about the road to knowledge and the pain of existing in our beautiful, broken world. I believed every single word.”
- Sunjeev Sahota, author of the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted The Year of the Runaways
Laurie Canciani has the ability to take the world we think we know, and turn it inside out. She understands what goes on in people's minds and hearts, and tells us with language that has such brutal, scorching beauty it will take you aback.”
- Samantha Harvey
The Insomnia Museum is an ambitious exploration of loss, guilt and the way whole lives can turn on a single mistake.”
- Dani Garavelli, The Big Issue
Fizzing with energy and written in occasionally unfinished, staccato sentences, Canciani paints an atmospheric portrait of a world fuelled by deprivation and the will to survive.”
- Fanny Blake, Daily Mail