The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
You've probably heard and/or read the old adage "comparison is the thief of joy," right? The quote has been attributed to Theodore Roosevelt but, since there is some speculation about the accuracy of this, I'll leave out the credit. In many respects, I have found this be true and, unfortunately, I do a lot of comparing.
Around this time last year, I read The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian; it was recommended to me by one of my favorite book bloggers, Catherine. I loved it (you can find my post here) and couldn't stop raving about it. When I discovered that the author had a new novel being published this year, I jumped at the chance to devour an advance copy; my expectations were very high.
The Sleepwalker centers around the story of a woman who, historically, has suffered from parasomnia; when she goes missing one evening, her family immediately assumes that her disappearance is related to yet another instance of this phenomenon. I found this aspect of the story fascinating; I've heard of people who behave oddly while sleeping, but Bohjalian certainly did his research. I was drawn in immediately.
As was the case with my experience of The Guest Room, I rarely wanted to put the book down; Bohjalian is magnificent with suspense. His storytelling is such that every chapter feels like the end of an episode of my favorite television program and I can hardly wait for the next one; it doesn't make me want to rush through, rather savor every moment.
Now back to that comparison business...I think I wanted the resolution, the conclusion, to be as spellbinding and breathtaking as my experience of The Guest Room; unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me. I would love to have heard more about what happened after the big reveal, so to speak, because the author really had me with this whole parasomnia concept and the manner in which it is treated both medically and within the family unit.
As a firm believer that every story is experienced differently by every reader, I am happy to report that The Sleepwalker is, overall, a highly entertaining read; after all, it's still Bohjalian and it kept me interested until the final page.