The Sleepwalker was another mysterious family drama by Chris Bohjalian. I have to say, this author peaked with his stellar novel, Midwives which was by far the best book has written. There, he used a younger narrator to detail an event that impacted her mother and caused immense turmoil for the family. This novel was similar to Midwives in that Lianna, a woman of 21, narrated this family drama that began when her mother Annalee went missing from her home. Since Annalee was a sleepwalker, her family believed she may have left her home while asleep, but they didn’t know whether she was alive or dead.
After her mother’s disappearance, Lianna stayed home from college so that she could care for her 12 yr old sister. Lianna’s life became consumed with interactions with her sister and Gavin, a man who met her mother in a sleepwalking clinic. The majority of the book followed Lianna as her relationships with her sister and Gavin developed. I thought the romantic relationship with Lianna and Gavin seemed out of place and forced. I didn’t see the reason for it, and it certainly didn’t do much for the overall plot.
This author is a phenomenal writer in the sense that he gives depth to each character. Things happen succinctly and with vivid descriptions. Lianna’s voice was simple and easily conveyed a range of emotions that made her a vulnerable and also strong female character. His writing ability is elegant and mature while still being descriptive enough to push the story alone. About halfway through I saw the big surprise coming, which is saying a lot considering I usually try to enjoy the novel and stay in the moment rather than try to figure out the ending. Only near the end of this, did Lianna begin asking questions to really find out whether her mother was murdered. This actually had a great twist but it fell flat for me because there wasn’t enough power behind the twist.
This felt like a great idea that needed a story built around it, but the story that was created didn’t really support the main point her. This was just okay, and I think will be my last book by this author.