• Sleepwalk

  • A Novel
  • By: Dan Chaon
  • Narrated by: John Pirhalla
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A high speed and darkly comic road trip through a near future American with a big hearted mercenary, from beloved and acclaimed novelist Dan Chaon

Sleepwalk’s hero, Will Bear, is a man with so many aliases that he simply thinks of himself as the Barely Blur. At 50 years old, he’s been living off the grid for over half his life. He’s never had a real job, never paid taxes, never been in a committed relationship. A good-natured henchman with a complicated and lonely past and a passion for LSD microdosing, he spends his time hopscotching across state lines in his beloved camper van, running sometimes shady often dangerous errands for a powerful and ruthless operation he’s never troubled himself to learn too much about. He has lots of connections, but no true ties. His longest relationships are with an old rescue dog that has post-traumatic stress and a childhood friend as deeply entrenched in the underworld as he is, who, lately, he’s less and less sure he can trust. 

Out of the blue, one of Will's many burner phones heralds a call from a 20-year-old woman claiming to be his biological daughter. She says she’s the product of one of his long-ago sperm donations; he’s half certain she’s AI. She needs his help. She’s entrenched in a widespread and nefarious plot involving Will’s employers, and for Will to continue to have any contact with her increasingly fuzzes the line between the people he is working for and the people he’s running from. 

With his signature blend of haunting emotional realism and fast-paced intrigue, Dan Chaon populates his fractured America with characters who ring all too true. Gazing both back to the past and forward to an inevitable-enough-seeming future, Sleepwalk examines where we’ve been and where we’re going and the connections that bind us, no matter how far we travel to dodge them or how cleverly we hide.

©2022 Dan Chaon (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“Chaon, the visionary author of Await Your Reply and Among the Missing, returns with another standout literary thriller...Sleepwalk is Chaon at the height of his powers.”—Esquire Magazine

“This strange and compelling plot features Chaon’s signature imaginative flair and brilliant pacing to create an ominous tension infused with sly wit . . . A consummate storyteller, Chaon imbues the darkly comic with colossal heart.”—Booklist (starred review) 

“As ever, Chaon expertly fuses the dystopian nightmares of technology and crime with fascinating characters who cross a hellscape to find each other. This is his best one yet.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

What listeners say about Sleepwalk

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  • Overall
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Interesting

Interesting dialogue, but too many back stories upon back stories. Should have explained time period & how the world became so weird

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Excellent and Unique

I was not sure I liked the narrator’s voice at first, but it grew on me. It definitely seemed to capture the main character.

Said main character was one of the most colorful and unique protagonists I have come across. You really come to love and root for him and his trusty companion.

While the ending was a bit anticlimactic, it was satisfying.

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Very entertaining’

Such A great story! Had me on the edge of my seat until the final page! Highly recommend!

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A Great Pre Apocolapse Road Novel

Following a really chill Big Lebowski type protagonist, if the big Lebowski had sometimes commited murder or kidnapping and such. The language is artful, keeps within the confines of the voice or the character. Highly recommend.

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Great read!

It’s a layered, disturbing yet fun road journey. The main character, whatever his name is, is complex and fittingly off his rocker considering the world he lives in. Under the circumstances, he could be any of us.
So well-written, Dan Chaon traverses the tight rope between the unthinkable horrible and the lovingly human (and canine), while the humor shines through.
Listened to the audio - an excellent performance by John Pirhalla.

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What the heck did I just read?

Sleepwalk is impossible to describe. The protagonist is a Big Lebowski type of guy that is the anti-hero in a storyline that is best described as a road trip through a dystopian America full of characters that are too freaking weird to adequately explain in anything less than a character study/thesis/term paper.

Don’t worry Sleepwalk is so freaking interesting you won’t care that you sincerely don’t have a clue what the hell is going on.

One complaint: The ending came up out of nowhere like a sneaky dead end on a long road. I was deep into the last chapters of Sleepwalk, waiting for everything to be unwound and make sense. That didn’t happen, all of a sudden the story ended, and the book was over.

It was kind of like being book dry humped and the book just got up and walked away while whistling.

I mean the dry humping was fun and all, but WTH happened? Was it me?

Sleepwalk is a confusing fun romp like a carnival ride at a strip mall.

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Fascinating

A little slow starting, but once he got going it was hard to stop. It was a little irritating that they mangled Alaskan place names, makes me wonder if they were accurate about the other place names. But it’s a small niggle. In general it’s so tied to geography that you get a physical sense of where the action is carrying on. It feels unfinished. It’s a sequel coming?

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LOVE THIS

Unique and fascinating story, absolutely perfect narration brings Billy to life. Highly recommend. Please write more, Mr. Chaon.

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Terrible

Can’t believe I listened to this hoping it would get to an interesting point. That never happens

Avoid this!

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What a ride!

I wasn’t sure I would stay with the book at the beginning, but I stuck with it long enough to understand how unusual the story was and then grew to love the protagonist. Couldn’t put it down and so sorry to get to the end. Maybe I’ll give it another listen.