From “one of the UK’s most interesting authors” (Kirkus Reviews), Patricia Highsmith meets White Lotus in this surprising and suspenseful modern gothic story following a couple running from both secretive pasts and very present dangers while honeymooning on a Greek island.
Still reeling from the chaos of their wedding, Evelyn and Richard arrive on a tiny Greek island for their honeymoon. It’s the end of the season and a storm is imminent. Determined to make the best of it, they check into the sun-soaked doors of the Villa Rosa. Already feeling insecure after seeing the “beautiful people,” the seemingly endless number of young models and musicians lounging along the Mediterranean, Evelyn is wary of the hotel’s owner, Isabella, who seems to only have eyes for Richard.
Isabella ostensibly disapproves of every request Evelyn makes, seemingly annoyed at the fact that they are there at all. Isabella is also preoccupied with her chance to enthrall the only other guests—an American producer named Marcus and his partner Debbie—with the story of “the sleepwalkers,” a couple who had stayed at the hotel recently and drowned.
Everyone seems to want to talk about the sleepwalkers, save for Hamza, a young Turkish man Evelyn had seen with some “beautiful people,” as well as the “dapper little man”—the strange yet fashionable owner of the island’s lone antiques and gift shop she sees everywhere.
But what at first seemed eccentric, decorative, or simply ridiculous, becomes a living nightmare. Evelyn and Richard are separated the night of the storm and forced to face dark truths, but it’s their confessions around the origins of their relationship and the years leading up to their marriage that might save them.
Exhilarating, suspenseful, and also very funny, The Sleepwalkers asks urgent questions about relationships, sexuality, and the darkest elements of contemporary society—where our most terrible secrets are hidden in plain sight.
About the Author
Scarlett Thomas was born in London. She is the author of highly acclaimed contemporary cult novels including The End of Mr. Y, which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, Oligarchy, The Seed Collectors, PopCo, and the Worldquake series of middle grade books. Her novels have sold over half a million copies worldwide, and been translated into twenty-six languages. Scarlett is professor of creative writing and contemporary fiction at the University of Kent. Find out more at ScarThomas.com.
"Their letters to each other contain shocking revelations, which Thomas unspools masterfully, expertly building tension and jolting the reader in equal measure. Fans of literary fiction and thrillers will find much to appreciate here, with the slow burn of the story's beginning paying off exponentially once all the cards are turned over. A straight-up winner."
—BOOKLIST (starred review)
“A novel about secrets, family curses, and the past erupting into the present… from a seemingly fearless writer.”
—KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)
“The Sleepwalkers is never-endingly surprising and full of keen observations on relationships, politics, and art. Thomas makes real life so fraught with meaning, it feels hauntingly supernatural. A twisty Gothic tale of vertiginous depths and haunting power.”
—SANDRA NEWMAN, author of Julia and The Heavens
“A fabulously sly and slippery tale of a honeymoon that goes from bad to worse to even worse yet. Vivid, scalpel-sharp, and impossible to put down."
—KELLY LINK, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of Get In Trouble
“Vibey, dark, and weird, The Sleepwalkers is like a poetic, sinister The White Lotus with even more plot twists. I loved it.”
—ALLIE ROWBOTTOM, author of Aesthetica
"Brilliant and utterly surprising, The Sleepwalkers kept me up late, ensnared by these pitch-perfect voices and desperate to know what was going to happen next, but also, what exactly happened in the past. A gut-wrenching mystery about how far we will go to keep our secrets, and how secrets can reverberate outward in shocking and devastating ways. Lush and deeply human, stylish and sexy and important, The Sleepwalkers will take your breath away."
—CHELSEA BIEKER, author of Godshot and Heartbroke
PRAISE FOR SCARLETT THOMAS
“A British writer who excels at delivering novels about difficult subjects, [with a] brilliant, incisive gaze."
—THE WASHINGTON POST
"Thomas has a perfectly pitched ear for human cruelty and self-delusion."