The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh

13625941Loved, loved, loved, this brilliant little book. It struck all sorts of chords that were just delightful and perfect for me.
It’s a suspense novel, set in the bleak winter of contemporary Berlin. The themes of decay existing overlayed upon a surface of glistening respectability, of the effects of ghosts of the past on our present, and of the hidden depths of depravity hidden behind apparent normality, were immensely enjoyable. The novel has elements of Hitchcock and the gothic. Reading it was like engaging in a game with the author…being tantalized, but not given quite all the information about what is going on, who is really good, and who is really hiding a terrible secret.
The novel was exquisitely crafted, from the setting of a shiny, modern flat overlooking a shadowy graveyard, to the main character of a displaced Scottish pregnant woman, feeling isolated and with a sense of growing paranoia as she tries to adjust to her new life in Berlin. The dialogue also reflected a kind of abbreviated awkwardness, and a theatricality, reflecting the performance that many of the characters are enacting, and the incomplete knowledge they have of what is really going on. I loved just about everything about this book, and will definitely be reading other novels by Louise Welsh.

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