The Girl On The Stairs
- John Murray General Publishing Division
- Publication Date:
- 02 August 2012
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-4 out of 5 reviews. Previous | Next
Pregnant Jane moves from Glasgow to Berlin to be with her lover, Petra and start a new life and family. Petra is mostly working and absent, leaving Jane alone in a claustrophobic world. Her understanding of German is weak and she knows few people in Berlin. When she meets a young teenage girl with bruises living nearby, her suspicions grow and her world appears increasingly sinister.I thought this thriller was much more expertly done than previous reviews give it credit for. Almost everything is ultimately revealed but not always explicitly spelt out, so careful reading is required at times. Yes, Jane's behaviour can be odd and yes, she has strong views. This is not a failing of the author's, it is integral to the story. I won't say much more for fear of spoilers but Welsh is a talented writer and everything included in this book is there for a reason. Including, I think, the introductory quotation from The Turn of the Screw!
I found this quite a creepy, atmospheric and disturbing book. It's quite a short and uncomplicated psychological thriller, but it's full of suspense and has you on the edge of your seat. There are sinister and gothic under and overtones throughout the story and the reader never quite knows what's really going on. Even the ending is fairly ambiguous - well, I thought so - and leaves you thinking.An easy and quick read where the slow build up of tension makes you want to turn the pages!
Jane Logan is six months pregnant and has moved to Berlin to live with her long-term lover, rich banker, Petra. The women's chic new apartment is in a trendy part of the city but Jane finds herself increasingly uneasy there. She conceives a dread of the derelict backhouse across the courtyard and begins to suspect something sinister is happening in the flat next door, where gynaecologist Alban Mann lives with his teenage daughter Anna. Petra believes her lover's pregnancy is affecting her judgement, but Jane is increasingly convinced that all is not well. Her decision to turn detective has devastating results when her own past collides with the past of the building and its inhabitants.My Thoughts:This was a very quick thriller to read which wasn’t too complicated. I did feel there was enough suspense to keep me intrigued and found the book at times creepy.However I have to agree with another reviewer on here that I cannot see a heavily pregnant woman running around an unknown neighbourhood trying to save a young girl she dosen’t know, although the heroine being pregnant does add vulnerability.The ending let the book down badly. The book ended very quickly and I felt that I had missed something. I can’t make up my mind if Jane was or wasn’t imagining things with the neighbours and if they were out to get or help her. I enjoyed the book but felt just a little let down at the end.
Jane Logan is heavily pregnant when she moves to Berlin to be with her partner Petra, a successful business woman. Left alone in their apartment for much of the time, Jane has too much time on her hands! Opposite their apartment block is a disused building which seems to loom over her and mysterious events make Jane very uneasy. Within their complex, live a creepy gynaecologist and his rebellious teenage daughter Anna. Jane gets it in to her head that Anna is being abused after hearing screaming and shouting through the walls and witnessing Anna with bruises on her face. It is when she reports this to the authorities that her real problems begin. Jane is convinced that the doctor has murdered his wife, a former prostitute, whom he says left him and their daughter some years ago. Like you do. Really? Why? Just a hunch? The author has successfully built a sense of dread and foreboding within the pages of this slim volume. However, I found the character of Jane very irritating and wondered why a woman in the advance stages of pregnancy, would take so many risks. As a newcomer, would you really involve yourself in other peoples' business whilst your partner was away on business for a week? Petra is very unlikeable and her brother is just plain weird! The story appears to fizzle out as it progresses and there is a massive continuity howler half way through. On page 127, Jane has "spent the afternoon putting the flat to rights" after a frantic search for some lost/stolen money. On page 155, the flat remains in a mess following "her search for Petra's euros." In one way, Jane is feisty, independant and won't take no for an answer, and yet the reader is asked to believe that the disappearance of this money (which Petra gave her before she left on business)has left Jane destitute and with no means of obtaining any other cash. The bank maybe? A cash machine? Not very convincing. To summarise, I found this novel very disappointing, but have given it 3*s for the atmospheric writing. The premise is a good one...but Louise Welsh has failed to deliver. Her former novels are far better than this and I expected more.
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