Monday, March 25, 2024

The Sleepwalkers

The Sleepwalkers by Scarlett Thomas
4/9/24; 304 pages
Simon & Schuster

The Sleepwalkers by Scarlett Thomas is a recommended epistolary novel that eventually becomes a mystery.

In the opening lengthy letter Evelyn (Evie) is writing to Richard,  her new husband. The two are on their honeymoon on a Greek island and staying at the Villa Rosa, which Richard's mother booked for them. Isabella, the hotel's owner makes it obvious she plays up to Richards and actively despises Evie. It also seems clear that Evie and Richard dislike each other and there are weird things going on at the hotel.

The narrative opens through a very lengthy letter written by Evie to Richard. It is at this point many readers are going to realize that the novel seems populated by unlikable characters and that they will have to suspend disbelief because the letter is so very, very, extremely lengthy. Also trying of my patience were the sudden gaps in the flow of the letter. Richard eventually gets to reply to Evie with a letter of his own along with various other notes, audio transcripts, and letters.

Normally I tend to like epistolary novels, but that is when the letters are actually the length of normal letters or even long emails or text messages. I appreciate the interplay between them to build a plot and different points-of-view. I also like it when the voice of the various characters are distinctive rather than all in the same dialect and tone. The writing is very descriptive but it is also similar in every piece of writing. I struggled along to the end where there are some twists and some closure but also open questions. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an advance reader's copy via . My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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