A love child of Mad Max: Fury Road and Cosmatos's Mandy with a peppering of The Last of Us, Sleepwalk is fast-paced chaos and the epitome of what I affectionately refer to as dystopian trucker fiction. Trust me, that's a compliment. Chaon's blending of hallucinatory storytelling and commentary on the human condition is truly masterful. Recommended By Stacy W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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 fifty 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 an LSD microdosing problem, 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 with posttraumatic 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 his many burner phones heralds a call from a twenty-year-old woman claiming to be his biological daughter, Cammie. 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 continuing to have any contact with her increasingly fuzzes the line between the people Will is working for and the people he's running from.
With his signature blend of haunting emotional realism and fast-paced intrigue, 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 curses and joys of being human that will never change, no matter how far we travel to dodge them, or how cleverly we hide.
"To say this is one of the best novels I've read in years is almost not enough. Dan Chaon's Sleepwalk is a thrilling and often hilarious road trip across America in the very near future, told by a winning and murderous narrator. But beneath the zigzag adventure tale is a poignant reminder of the fragile nature of our humanity, an appreciation of the tricky balancing act of living. It's a beautiful, unsettling, and thoughtful novel — told by one of America's great storytellers." — Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
"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." — 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)
Watch the Powell’s virtual event with Dan Chaon and Shawn Vestal!
About the Author
Dan Chaon is the author of six previous books, including Ill Will, a national bestseller, named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Publishers Weekly. Other works include the short story collection Stay Awake (2012), a finalist for the Story Prize; the national bestseller Await Your Reply; and Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award. Chaon's fiction has appeared in the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize Anthologies, and the O. Henry Collection. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction and the Shirley Jackson Award, and he was the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Cleveland.