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The Sleepwalker

The Sleepwalker

4.3 15
by Chris Bohjalian

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire—the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire—the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
     Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in Vermont in 2000, this stylish fusion of mystery and domestic thriller from Bohjalian (The Guest Room) explores the aftermath of the inexplicable disappearance of a woman prone to sleepwalking. Annalee Ahlberg’s two daughters, 21-year-old Lianna and 12-year-old Paige, attempt to find some kind of closure after their beloved mother—who has experienced bizarre sleepwalking episodes in the past—vanishes from her home in the middle of the night. The mystery deepens when Lianna and a detective, who may have had an intimate relationship with Annalee, become emotionally connected. Powered by brilliantly rendered characters, an intriguing topic (parasomnia), and a darkly lyrical narrative that captures the melancholic tone of autumn in New England perfectly (red maples in their “death throes”), this novel has only one weak point—its highly improbable conclusion, which may leave readers unsatisfied. 10-city author tour. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Bohjalian, who never writes the same book twice, here offers suspense with a twist. Says Harlan Coben, it's "more than a mystery: it's a beautiful, wrenching novel of family secrets."
Kirkus Reviews
Bohjalian's latest considers the impact of a sleepwalker's disappearance on her husband and children.Lianna Ahlberg, Bohjalian's 21-year-old protagonist and first-person narrator, drops out of Amherst after her mother, Annalee, a known sleepwalker, disappears one night. Lianna takes over the running of the family's Victorian home in the fictitious village of Bartlett, Vermont. The family and police fear her mother may have fallen, or jumped, off a bridge into the river below—a somnambulating Annalee had been wrestled off that bridge before, by Lianna. Her father, Warren, a Middlebury College professor, copes poorly, dosing himself with scotch and passing out every night in front of the TV. Preteen sister Paige, the only athlete and brunette in the family (causing some to doubt her parentage), bridles under Lianna's supervision. Lianna is drawn to Gavin Rikert, the police detective investigating the disappearance. Gavin, 12 years her senior, is equally interested in her. A sleepwalker himself, Gavin had maintained an avowedly platonic friendship with Annalee after they met in a sleep clinic. Italicized segments preceding each chapter are narrated by a sleepwalking insider, presumably Annalee, who claims to suffer from "sexsomnia": a rare condition wherein sleepwalkers turn sexually voracious. If they're in bed alone, as Annalee was on the night she went missing (Warren was at a conference), they'll go in search of a partner and/or victim. Alarmingly, it turns out that Gavin also has that proclivity, which doesn't bother Lianna as much as it should, especially after they begin sleeping together. The problem with the novel is primarily one of shape. The first two-thirds of the book are spent wondering whether Annalee is missing or dead. Once we find out, the pace picks up, but the only reason the ending is a surprise is because most of the clues seeded in the first two-thirds prove to be red herrings. Sensational subject matter aside, this thriller is a sleeper.
From the Publisher
"Masterful... The Sleepwalker is Bohjalian at his best: a creepily compelling topic and an illusionist’s skill at tightening the tension. This is a novel worth losing sleep over." —Patty Rhule, USA Today
"The kind of mystery that builds to a startling climax, the kind that makes the reader wonder how such a trick was pulled off...Bohjalian does a masterful job."
—Clea Simon, the Boston Globe 
"Sex, secrets and the mysteries of sleep: These are the provocative ingredients in Chris Bohjalian’s spooky thriller The Sleepwalker. It’s a dark, Hitchcockian novel… Trust me, you will not be able to stop thinking about it days after you finish reading this book." —Carol Memmott, The Washington Post 
"Literary and compelling, a combination so rare I’m tempted to apply for federal intervention. . . I hesitate to say more, because to know too much may spoil the fun of discovery. Rest assured the denouement is perfect. This is Bohjalian at his very best." —Curt Shleier, The Seattle Times
"A perfectly crafted surprise ending… Bohjalian succeeds in making us accomplices in a dark world we never knew existed." —Laura Patten, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Everyone in the county presumed that my mother’s body was decaying—becoming porridge—at the bottom of the Gale River. It was the year 2000, and we were but three seasons removed from the Y2K madness: the overwrought, feared end of the digital age. It was a moment in time when a pair of matching towers still stood near the tip of lower Manhattan. Fracking and photobomb and selfie were years from becoming words, but we were only months from adding to our vocabularies the expression hanging chad.

I was twenty-one that summer and fall, and my sister was twelve. Neither of us fully recovered.

The experts were surprised that Annalee Ahlberg’s body hadn’t been found, since a drowned body usually turns up near its point of entry into the water. But near is a relative term. And so police divers had searched long stretches of the waterway and even dredged a section along the levee that was built to protect the road from the flash floods that seemed to mangle the great, sweeping curve there every other decade. But there was no trace of her. They had scoured as well the small, shallow beaver pond in the woods a quarter of a mile behind my family’s red Victorian and found nothing there, too. Nevertheless, my younger sister and I thought it most likely that our mother was in that Vermont river somewhere. We hadn’t given up all hope that she would return alive—at least I hadn’t—but every day it grew harder to feign optimism for our father or say the right things (the appropriate things) when people asked us how we were doing.

One day after school, a little more than two weeks after the police and the mobile crime lab and the Zodiac boats had moved on—when all the tips had proven apparitions—Paige took her swim fins, a snorkel, and a mask and had gotten as far as the edge of the river before I was able to convince her that she was wasting her time. My sister was sitting on a rock about fifteen feet above the water in her navy-blue tank suit with the profile of a seahorse on her hipbone, the suit she wore when she swam laps at the pool at the college where our father taught. Clearly she meant business. Paige was in the seventh grade then, already a daredevil ski racer to be reckoned with, and in the summer and fall, at her ski coach’s urging, most days she swam laps for an hour or so. She was still young enough to believe that she was a force of nature. She still dreamt when she was awake.

“You know, the water is so low now, you really won’t need your fins,” I observed, hoping I sounded casual as I sat down beside her. I thought it was a little ridiculous that Paige thought her fins might be of use. It was the middle of September and it hadn’t rained in Vermont in a month. It hadn’t rained since our mother had disappeared (which we viewed as mere meteorological coincidence, not a sign of astrological or celestial relevance). The water was only shoulder high in that part of the river, and the channel was no more than ten or twelve yards wide. The fins would be an encumbrance, not an asset, to a swimmer as strong as Paige.

“Then I won’t use them,” she mumbled.

“Maybe at the basin,” I suggested, throwing her a bone. The basin, a little downstream of where we were sitting, was at the bottom of a small waterfall. The water was perhaps a dozen feet deep there, and she could use her fins to push to the bottom.

“Maybe,” she agreed.

The riverbank was steeply pitched, the slope awash with oak and maple saplings, the leaves already turning the colors of copper and claret. There were occasional clusters of raspberry bushes, the fruit by then long eaten by humans and deer. There were boulders and moss and mud—though that day, due to the drought, the earth was dry powder. Seven days earlier, Labor Day, the river was crowded with teenagers and children. Girls my age in bikinis sunned themselves on the unexpected rock promontories that jutted into the water. There were fewer swimmers than in summers past because, after all, it had been only a week and a half before then that the river had been filled with the search-and-rescue teams and the police. On some level, everyone who swam there or dozed on the boulders in the center of the Gale those waning days of summer feared they would stumble upon our mother’s corpse. But still the swimmers and sunbathers came. Parents still brought their children.

The water was clear that late in the afternoon, and where it was shallow Paige and I could see the rocks along the bottom, some reminiscent of turtles and some shaped and colored a bit like the top of a human skull. Prior to our mother’s disappearance, I doubt that either of us would have associated a rock with a skull; it was inevitable we did now. When we were quiet, we could hear the burble of the current as it rolled west, sluicing between boulders and splashing against the brush and a fallen maple on the shore.

I stretched my legs against a tree root. “And you know the water is a lot chillier these days than it was a couple weeks ago. It may be low in this section, but the temperature went down to forty degrees last night,” I reminded my younger sister.

“It was sixty-five degrees at lunchtime today,” Paige countered. “I checked at school.”

“The sun’s already behind the mountain. It’s probably fifty-five now. Look, you have goose bumps on your arms. You’ll last five minutes. Then you’ll either get out or you’ll get hypothermia. I’ll have to dive in after you.”

“I won’t get hypothermia,” she said, unable to hide her irritation with me. “And you wouldn’t dive in after me, Lianna. You just don’t want me to look.”

“Not in the river, I don’t.”

“We both know—”

“If there were clues in there, the police would have found them. They didn’t,” I said—though the truth was, I did in fact believe there were clues in the river. I believed that probably there were more than clues. I couldn’t help but imagine that our mother was in there. The body, in my mind, was lodged beneath the water somewhere between where the river passed through Bartlett and where it emptied miles to the west into Lake Champlain. The corpse was hooked to a jagged rock rising up from the bottom like a stalagmite. Or it was caught beneath a rusting car hood or trashed box spring or the barbed metal from a deteriorating wheelbarrow or boat or some other piece of detritus that had sunk to the bed of the river in those sections where it was deep. But if the divers hadn’t found our mother—or any clues—there was no way in the world that Paige was going to.

“Well, we have to do something,” Paige insisted, her voice morphing from vexation to pout. “I know doing something—doing anything except calling your friends at college or doing your magic or smoking pot—is against your religion. But I’m not you.”

“I’m doing something right now. I’m trying to stop you from accidentally freezing to death. Or, at least, wasting your time.”

Paige lay back against the bank and spread out her arms like she was about to be crucified. For a kid who made short work of Olympic-sized swimming pools, it seemed to me that my sister’s biceps were sticklike. Paige had turned to the river that day only because she had given up her search of the beaver pond and the woods behind our house. I had seen her back there the other day, wading methodically in hip boots in invisible lanes from one end of the beaver pond to the other, scouring the water. In the end, she found nothing more interesting in there than a man’s tennis sneaker. Another time she walked through the woods, hunched over like a witch from a children’s picture book, studying the fallen leaves and humus for any trace of our mother. But this was land that had been searched and searched again by professionals and volunteers. Rows of women and men had walked side by side, almost shoulder to shoulder. They had found nothing. And neither had Paige. She had found nothing there and she had found nothing—other than empty beer bottles and candy wrappers and plastic coffee-cup lids—as she had walked for hours along the river-bank beside the road, kicking at the brush with her sneakers.

“What are you going to make for dinner?” she asked me after a moment, the question breaking the silence like a flying fish breaking the water.

“Can I take that to mean you’re going to put your energies to better use than going for a dip in the river?”

“I guess.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I would have been really pissed off if I’d had to go in and drag you out by your bathing suit.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

It was a little before five. I had spotted Paige because I’d been walking to the general store for a bottle of Diet Coke and a brownie. I was only a little buzzed now, but I was still very, very hungry. I was also hoping that I might see something in the store’s refrigerator case that I could put on our father’s tab and call it dinner. Some potato salad, perhaps, and a couple of Mexican wraps. For a small store in a small village, the refrigerator case was impressive. When I was stoned—more stoned than I was that afternoon—the deli section made me think of a toy magic trick I’d had when I’d been younger than Paige was now, and I was first fantasizing that I might become a magician when I grew up. The trick was a red plastic vase no more than four or five inches tall, and it seemed never to run out of water. Or, to be precise, it seemed never to run out of water two times. Then it really did run dry. But twice you could seem to empty it before your—theoretically amazed—audience. The refrigerator case and deli section at the Bartlett General Store were a little bit like that to me, especially when I had the dope giggles.

“Dinner. Let’s see,” I murmured. In the first days after our mother had disappeared, our father had been a cyclone of activity. He tried to make sense of the path the detectives and a K‑9 dog named Max had outlined across our yard—the way the grass had been matted down in the night, the way you could see what they decided were her footprints in the dew, and (most compelling) the small piece from the sleeve of her nightshirt, ripped and found hanging on the leafless branch of a dead tree along the bank of the river. He had designed posters with her picture on them and had Paige and me plaster them on telephone poles and bakery and grocery store corkboards for miles. I had spent hours and hours alone in my mother’s midnight-blue Pathfinder—an SUV my parents had gotten my junior year of high school because it was perfect for carting us all (but especially Paige) to and from the ski slopes, and because we would use it to haul my belongings to and from college—driving between Bartlett and Hinesburg and Middlebury, where my father taught at the college. He had placed ads with his wife’s photo in the area newspapers to prolong the story’s momentum and to prevent people from forgetting Annalee Ahlberg—because, he knew, quickly they would. People survive by being callous, not kind, he sometimes taught his students, not trying to be dismissive of the species, but realistic. How, he lectured, could we ever face the morning if we did not grow inured to the monstrosities that marked the world daily: tsunamis and plane crashes and terrorism and war? And even when the police followed up on a tip—an alleged sighting of a woman wandering aimlessly in her nightshirt, or a piece of clothing floating miles away in the river—and discounted it, he would investigate it on his own. His inquiries those first days often confused strangers and infuriated the police.

At the same time, he had shocked the dean of faculty and the president of the college by informing them the Sunday of Labor Day weekend—barely more than a week after his wife had gone missing—that he still planned to teach that fall. It was, he said, the only way he could take his mind off the madness. Eight days later, Paige and I were sitting on the banks of the Gale. And while our father may have been himself in the classroom—inspiring one moment, glib the next—he had grown almost catatonic around Paige and me. He was utterly spent. He would drink till he slept in the evenings. In the days immediately after my mother’s disappearance, he had depended upon my aunt—his sister-in-law—to make everyone dinner and do the laundry and, occasionally, brush Joe the Barn Cat. And then my aunt had left, returning to her own family on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. My mother’s parents, frail and inconsolable, tried to help, but my grandmother was descending fast into the murk of Alzheimer’s. They understood they were making things harder, not easier, and soon had gone home to their colonial outside of Boston, where my grandfather could do his best to care for his wife in the surroundings she knew. The neighbors stopped bringing us lasagna and macaroni and cheese and bowls of cut fruit. And so the task of making dinner had now fallen to me. Though our father’s classes met only three days a week, he had gone to the college every day since Labor Day. Faculty meetings, he said. Introducing himself to his new student advisees. His own writing. Talking to people himself who thought they might have seen Annalee Ahlberg. Each day he had left early in the morning and come home just before dinner. It seemed to me that he couldn’t bear to be in the house. Did he believe that his wife was still alive somewhere? At first he said that he did, reassuring his daughters, but already he was more likely to speak of her in the past tense. I knew in my heart that, like me, he was convinced she had walked herself to her death in a moment of slow-wave, third-stage sleep.

For a couple more minutes I sat beside my sister on the bank of the river, and neither of us said a word. I was just about to rise and resume my walk to the general store when Paige surprised me and asked, “Did they fight a lot? I mean, in comparison to other married couples?” She was talking about our parents.

The short story prequel to THE SLEEPWALKER, THE PREMONITION (9781524732936) is available to read now!

Meet the Author

CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of nineteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Guest Room, The Sandcastle Girls, The Light in the Ruins, and The Double Bind. His novel Midwives was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, and three of his novels have become movies (Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers).

Brief Biography

Lincoln, Vermont
Date of Birth:
August 12, 1961
Place of Birth:
White Plains, New York
Amherst College

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The Sleepwalker (Signed Book) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
He just gets better with every novel. Loved these characters. Loved the story.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Amazing story I never would've guessed! Thank you for this great book.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I did guess the culrit about halfway through but still good
YoyoMitch 3 months ago
Somnambulism, phenomenon of combined sleep and wakefulness, is a phenomenon that is as fascinating as it is puzzling. It is classified as a sleep disorder belonging to the parasomnia family. Sufferers perform activities that are usually performed during a state of full consciousness. These activities can be as benign as sitting up in bed, walking to a bathroom, and cleaning, or as hazardous as cooking, driving, violent gestures (including homicide). When Annalee Ahlberg, a middle-age mother of two with a long history of sleepwalking, goes missing, it is feared that she “sleep walked’ herself to death. The novel follows the reactions of her family as they sort out what happened to their mother/spouse and the implications of her going missing has for their world. This is a mystery whose solutions is rooted in love, neuro-abnormality and choices. The story is told from the first person perspective of Lianna, Annalee’s eldest daughter, who has a “typical” history of sleepwalking (as a child) but has been kept ignorant of her mother’s and her younger sister’s, Paige, experience of walking while asleep. The narrative is created as Lianna goes about discovering those things hidden from her – the extensiveness of the disorder within her family, its manifestation therein and how that information kept secret from her plays into locating her mother. The resolution is stunning as it is surprising, sad in its appropriateness and dead-on in its logic. The book is a well written, psychological, adult (use of language & sexual situations) mystery. It highlights the present cultural practice of “secret keeping” of those things that need to be openly addressed. Children are, usually, more aware of their parents’ conflicts (and the causes thereof) than are parents would imagine, the lack of clarity and directness causes anxiety in those same children. Mental health issues that affect and effect our lives regularly are chalked-up to “quirks,” “personality traits,” or “family dynamics” are ignored instead of seen as serious emotional dysfunctions and directly addressed, treated and resolved. As a result, those “issues” that could become, as Greek mythology suggests, Muses of creativity, continue to be Imps of destruction. Sometimes, however, the issues must be borne, accepting there is no resolution or repair. Physical illness causes bodily mutations and/or behaviors that are inappropriate in healthy but unavoidable in the afflicted. In those moments, the harm can be best diminished by unconditional love and acceptance with the setting of boundaries that are fitting to the capabilities of the individual. Such love often has a high cost, a cost only a loving parent would be willing to pay. Then, the scars may be permanent but need not be a cause of shame.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Well written. Story had a few interesting twists but dragged in a few spots as well.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Started off slowly, but ended up being a very interesting story. Glad I stuck with it!
bookchickdi 10 months ago
Chris Bohjalian chooses fascinating topics for his novels, and then pulls the reader into these worlds that one gets lost in for a few hours. His 2012 novel, The Sandcastle Girls, about the 1915 Armenian genocide in Syria, a story that sadly resonates too much today, is a novel I frequently recommend to shoppers at the Book Cellar where I volunteer. A Light In The Ruins takes us to Italy during WWII, with a family caught up in the crosshairs of war. His novels set in contemporary times, like the brilliant The Double Bind, which deals with a young woman violently attacked on bike ride, and The Guest Room, about a bachelor party host who gets involved with a young woman forced into sexual slavery, have twists that leave you gasping. Bohjalian's newest novel, The Sleepwalker, takes on a topic not frequently dealt with in fiction. A woman prone to sleepwalking disappears from her home while her husband is out of town. Her two daughters, college-aged Lianna and 12-year-old swimmer Paige, were home that evening and heard nothing. As searchers look for Annalee Ahlberg's body in the nearby river, we slowly find out more about her life. She only sleepwalks when her husband is out-of-town, but why that is remains a mystery. The girls, particularly Lianna, feel guilty about what happened. The Ahlberg family is falling apart. Dad Warren retreats into his job as a professor at the local college and drinks himself into oblivion at night. Lianna takes a leave of absence from college, smokes weed all day, and gets side jobs as a magician while caring for her sister Paige. One of the police officers on the investigation becomes involved with Lianna. She discovers that he and her mother met at a clinic that deals with sleep disorders and they became a kind of two-person support group. But was that all they were to each other? The Sleepwalker has a very eerie quality to it, and as Bohjalian slowly unwinds more information about Annalee's disorder and her relationship with her husband and the cop, an uneasy feeling overcomes the reader. There is a shocking twist at the end, but upon reflection, Bohjalian gives a few clues that could be picked up on by a careful reader. The Sleepwalker would make a fabulous movie, as it has a very cinematic element to it. The characters are intriguing, the story moves briskly, and watching this family fall apart is heartbreaking. I highly recommend The Sleepwalker, both for fans of mysteries and of family stories. If you read Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You, you'll want to put The Sleepwalker on your list.
feather_lashes 11 months ago
You never know what you're going to get with a Chris Bohjalian novel. To date, he has written nineteen of them and every single one is its own unique experience. With The Sleepwalker, his initial thoughts were to write a story about dreams but when he met with the director of a sleep center as part of his research, sleepwalking came up and Mr. Bohjalian was so fascinated with this topic that he incorporated this element instead. I learned so, so much about the subject of parasomnia. I can see why the author himself became so enthralled by it! However, the overall mystery of The Sleepwalker kinda puttered along with moments of intriguing suspicion until the big reveal at the very end...and then the other big reveal at the very, very end. You have to wait for it. The ending had my jaw dropping for sure but I can't say that it had me overlooking the lengthy-feeling journey there. It did warrant an additional 1/2 star from me, bumping up my rating from a 3 to a rounded-up 4 but that's about it. After having the full experience, I would recommend The Sleepwalker to fans of mysteries and definitely to fans of Chris Bohjalian. Check it out! My favorite quote: “Sometimes I’m not sure which hits us harder,” he said, his voice growing wistful, “that relief when we wake up from a nightmare and realize it was just a dream, or the sadness when we wake up from a good dream—a really good dream—and realize that nothing was real.” “And then there are moments like this: you’re wide awake and wish you weren’t. You wish it was just a dream.”
literarymadness 11 months ago
I have heard about sleepwalking before, but not in this way. This is novel can seem slow, but it's steady and engaging. The story is rich with feeling, the poignant sense of despair, and the mind numbing reality of tragedy. Having experienced seeming back to back deaths in recent years, I could identify with the characters' forced movement, a zombified existence while trying to cope with an unbearable loss. Chris Bohjalian shocks you just when you've become comfortable in the scenic, autumnal Vermont setting. So masterful was the story woven that never did I think I had solved this mystery, it was still something I had to reread when it came to light.
LadyDi2000 11 months ago
I loved The Sleepwalker - the characters, the page turning developments, and the wallop of an ending. Mr. Bohjalian skillfully places the reader in the thick of the event/family/setting through vivid description, gut wrenching emotion, and total empathy for the protagonist and her dogged determination. All of his books easily draw the reader in without hesitation so that they can begin their own assessment of the circumstances and readily develop intimate relationships with the very raw and real characters. Impossible to put down, and energizing throughout, this novel is among Mr. Bohjalian’s finest.
Fredreeca2001 11 months ago
Annalee is a wife and a mother. She suffers from parasomnia or sleepwalking. One evening she just disappears. She was sleepwalking and never returned home. Her family's life has been turned upside down. Lianna refuses to go back to college. Paige is constantly searching for her mother. And Warren has turned into a lush. What happened to Annalee? Was she murdered? Did she run away with another man? There are so many things to say about this novel. It is unique, intriguing and beyond interesting. The author creates an intricate web within this story. Annalee's disappearance, Annalee's miscarriages, Lianna's relationship with the detective, the parasomnia traits in the family, just to name a few. I was so wrapped up in the story and the characters I never saw the twist coming. And Mr. Bohjalian always has a twist. This novel does not move as fast as some reads. The intricacies of the story and the characters are pretty complex. It is not a book you can skim. You WILL miss something. Kudos to the author for originality. The sleepwalking premise is enthralling. Basically because I knew so little about it and I learned a lot as I was reading. Lots of research went into this story and it is so well thought out and displayed. Impressive, very impressive.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Incredible book. Bohjalian has done it again!
MeetingHouse 11 months ago
Absolutely gripping, suspenseful and compelling. Bohjalian is at the peak of his powers as a storyteller. I couldn't put this down. He had me guessing till the last page. I loved it!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Deb-Krenzer 11 months ago
I was so excited when my request for this book got approved. I had read "The Guest Room" and loved it! This one, not so much. It was, frankly, rather slow at times. Lianna asked a lot of questions, but I guess I would do the same if my mother were to go missing. Plus, she certainly had a lot of time on her hands. While reading it, I just felt like the dad was just there, almost nonexistent. And the cop for some reason just gave me the chills. I do have to say that the ending was certainly jaw dropping and I did not see that coming. I also know a lot about sleepwalking that I didn't know before. Who knew there was such a thing as "sleep sex". I see a lot of 4 and 5 stars for this book, so apparently they saw something I didn't. I did read this off and on over the course of five days, something I do not like to do. So there is a chance I did miss something. Thanks to Doubleday Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
tpolen 11 months ago
There's no doubt this author is a good storyteller. The reader experiences this story through Lianna's eyes - her grief, thoughts, observations, suspicions, discoveries. With some interesting twists along the way, the diary-like entries scattered between chapters will keep you guessing the identity of the writer. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, it wasn't detrimental to my enjoyment of this book. The author did extensive research into sleep disorders and besides being educational and interesting, the information was also somewhat disturbing, but made for a fascinating premise. Although The Sleepwalker doesn't contain any jaw-dropping epiphanies, it's a solid, evenly paced mystery/thriller that held my attention throughout. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.