The Sleepwalker; Chris Bohjalian
Doubleday - January 2017
I had a hard time reviewing this book because I expected to love this book, the author is a favorite of mine, but that just didn't happen.
Set in rural Vermont the Ahlberg family is in turmoil when the mother, Annalee, goes missing. Annalen is a sleepwalker and this condition has resulted in her doing some dangerous and crazy things in the past, but this is the first time she has gone missing. There is some fear that she might have fallen in the near by river when a piece of her nightshirt is found on a tree branch.
Annalen's husband Warren is a college professor and he hasn't been much comfort to his daughters Paige and Lianna. Warren drinks a bit too much at times and is harboring some guilt as his wife only sleepwalks when he is away at night and, on the night of her disappearance he was away at a conference. Younger daughter Paige is12 years old, she copes by looking for clues along the riverbank as she searches for her mother. Older daughter Lianna drops out of college to keep the home running smoothly while her father works and or travels. Gavin is a handsome police detective who seems to know a lot about Annalee; he too, coincidently, is a sleepwalker. Lianna finds herself attracted to the detective and is obsessed with finding out what he knows about her mother.
Part mystery, part contemporary fiction, there is quite a bit of detail shared about sleepwalking (parasomnia) which I thought was pretty interesting and well researched. The story is narrated by older daughter, Lianna and, the author makes her as well as the other characters fairly interesting. I struggled with this book until the point when we learn what really happened to Annalee, after that the pace and intensity seemed to pickup. The ending, although surprising, was unable to make up for the novel's slow start.