Read Remark Book Review - The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

Book Review: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

One-sentence summary:

Lianna takes time off from college to care for her father and sister after her mother sleepwalks out of the house one night and doesn’t come back.


Lianna’s life is in stasis as she deals with the aftermath of her mother, Annalee’s, sleepwalking. It’s almost as if she herself exists in the purgatory of an unending dream.

As the story unwinds, we get more and more insight into the nature of Annalee’s condition. It seems an affliction for which she should feel guilty, but has no control.

Lianna becomes increasingly frustrating – the constant pot smoking, the time off from college, how she as a grown woman antagonizes her kid sister, and especially

It’s important to remember that a frustrating character doesn’t make the book itself bad. Sometimes people miss that distinction.

It’s a remarkable writer who can cast aspersions on characters and still tell a great story that keeps you engaged.

So, as the story progresses, I get frustrated at the characters, which isn’t completely fair since I as a third-party observer have objectivity and get to judge and wag my finger, and then…

Bohjalian drops a bomb on us.

I don’t want to spoil it, but The Sleepwalker evokes the Midwives Bohjalian. The one who looks at the minutiae of daily family life, throws in a big disruptive event, makes us think one way, then twists things so we realize our thinking was all wrong.

I’m learning a new and delightful mantra for the time I read Bohjalian: expect to be shaken…and stirred.