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The Sleepwalker: Book summary and reviews of The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker

by Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2017
    304 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Bohjalian... never writes the same book twice... His new novel is suspense with a twist. Hint: a sleepwalking heroine seems to figure in the shivery plot." - Library Journal

"Best-selling Bohjalian (The Guest Room, 2016) raises essential questions of identity and heredity, sexuality and desire, bringing the Ahlberg family conundrum into focus with a didn't-see-that-one-coming powerhouse ending." - Booklist

"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." - Publishers Weekly

"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." - Kirkus

"The Sleepwalker is more than a mystery: it's a beautiful, wrenching novel of family secrets and the enigmas that link husbands and wives and lovers. And then that ending? Devastating and perfect." - Harlan Coben

The information about The Sleepwalker shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Chris Bohjalian Author Biography

Chris Bohjalian and his wife decided to leave New York City in 1986 for "pastoral" Vermont after a wild and terrifying 45-minute cab ride that ultimately dropped them at a crack house being stormed by police.

Fans of Mr. Bohjalian are probably very pleased that he did not take the advice given him in college by the writer-in-residence when he applied for a writing seminar. After reading the short story required for admittance, the writer/instructor "slid my short story across the expanse of the desk as if it were a piece of profoundly disagreeable road kill. 'I have three words for you, she said. Be a banker'."

Instead he had the courage to follow his dream and take his own advice which he now doles out to new writers wanting to be discovered. "Have a thick skin. Read lots and ...

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Name Pronunciation
Chris Bohjalian: bo-jail-yen (first syllable pronounced like to tie a bow)

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