The Sleepwalker

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Doubleday

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy Links: Amazon 

Type: Novel

Provided by Publisher


Blurb:  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.


Review: I’ve just finished the book, and instead of feeling the ending or closure, I’ve got so many more questions.

Lianna’s life came crashing down when her mother Annalee disappeared one night. She’d always understood, intellectually, that her mother’s sleepwalking issues were dangerous; hell, she was the one who’d pulled her of the bridge. However, her mother hadn’t had an episode in a while; she’d been doing so well that Lianna’s dad was going to a conference out of town. It was an unspoken test, though, of her mother’s recovery.

Because the sleepwalking incidents only happened when her dad was gone.

Lianna had horrible anxiety the first night her dad was gone but was determined to catch her mother if she tried to leave. Unfortunately, her sister Paige made the heartbreaking discovery the next morning. Annalee was gone.

Lianna had not kept her mother safe. She’d failed her.

This story made sense in a lot of ways but confused me in others. I felt like the suspense was beautifully done, and the writing was gorgeous. There were many surprises, and I walked right into the maze of beautifully planted false trails. The mystery was twisty and melancholy–the perfect pitch for this somnamulent story. Thanks for the read!

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