Chris Bohjalian's 19th novel to date focuses upon the mysteries of sleep. With his usual style, Bohjalian's takes us on a suspenseful and interesting journey into the twilight world known as "parasomnia," the state between waking and sleep. The plot centers upon Annalee Ahlberg who disappears one night in an apparent bout of sleepwalking. The story becomes one of "who done it " as we get to know all of the people in her life. What role does her husband play in the events leading up to her disappearance? Everyone becomes a suspect: friends, her two daughters, and the people in their small town. What lies beneath this rural and seemingly placid community? Bohjalian explores this question while simultaneouly educating us on this nocturnal world rarely discussed. The book is filled with suspense and intrigue, and gathers momentum as the plot unfolds and the details of past events fill in our understanding. Bohjalian's books are character driven, and this book once again reveals his strength in the exporation and development of personality.
Bohjlain is a prolific and successful writer. In For the Love of Writing, he discusses a technique he has found useful for inspiration and access to his creativity. Oddily enough, Bohjalian discusses the importance of his bycycle.
"There are a couple of reasons why I have found my bicycle such an important tool. One is the shower principle – a term I learned from the fictional Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock.” It has less to do with sweat than it does with clearing one’s mind. “The shower principle is a term scientists use to describe moments of inspiration that occur when the brain is distracted from the problem at hand – for example, when you’re showering,”
This relationship between clearing one's mind and allowing your unconscious to take over is relevant as it pertains to The Sleepwalker. The book, like Bohjalian's writing style, like sleep - takes on a life of it's own. As a reader, awake while reading and watching what could perhaps be described as a "waking dream" carries us forward to a surprising end. I recommend reading this book as a page turner and one filled with both character complexity and intrigue.