REVIEW: THE SLEEPWALKER, BY CHRIS BOHJALIAN

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When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing in the night, her daughters Lianna, 21, and Paige, 12, fear the worst. Their mother is a sleepwalker, and not only does she do bizarre things while in this state, she has put herself in danger.

But Annalee hasn’t had an episode in years, and she has had treatment at the sleep clinic. However, the usual set-up for her disturbance is present: her husband, Warren, an English professor, is away. In the past she has only taken her nightly excursions when he is gone.

Alternative narrators tell the tale of The Sleepwalker, and Lianna is the primary one. An anonymous narrator brings interesting and mysterious pieces to the story at the beginning of each chapter.

Set in small town Bartlett, Vermont, the reader will meet various friends and neighbors along the way, and there will be gossip, and the snippets of speculation that flow through the town will occasionally reach Lianna…and disturb her. The reader will learn more about the condition of parasomnia, which includes sleepwalking, night terrors, and even sleep sex.

In the beginning, the detectives will question each of the family members, focusing on the relationship between Warren and Annalee. They even look at Warren as a person of interest. Our narrator, Lianna, describes for us the occasional “fights” between her parents, and characterizes them as “quiet” skirmishes, “their barbs sharpened on whetstones of condescension and sarcasm.”

One of the detectives, a man a few years older than Lianna, is seemingly drawn into her orbit. What is the story of Gavin Rikert? Why is he so drawn to their family, and why does he seem to know so much about Annalee? Why does Lianna feel such a connection to him?

As the story wends its way through the time after, and some bits from before, we end up even more puzzled until…something quite astonishing happens. And then the final reveal unfolds in waves. First there is one discovery, and then another one, until I had to question everything I thought I knew about that alternate narrator. Another fabulous tale from the author that kept me intrigued throughout…and which earned 5 stars.    I received my e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

cropped again 5***

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