Jane Logan is Scottish, lesbian, six month’s pregnant and newly arrived in Berlin to live with her partner Petra. She is left to her own devices while Petra is off at work and becomes convinced that her neighbour is abusing his daughter Anna.
Why did I want to read it?
A good question. The cover attracted my eye. I have read Louise Welsh before and enjoyed her books. It sounded intriguing. The words “psychological thriller” clearly trigger a particular response in the bit of my brain that allegedly controls my book buying impulse.
What did I think of it?
Oh boy, The Girl on the Stairs was an uncomfortable read, but for all the right reasons. I felt so tense reading this book; if had been physically possible I would have read it through my fingers. It felt like watching a disaster unfold, I just wanted to shout at Jane to stop and think but her obsession was so overpowering it’s clear that no-one in her own world could talk any sense into her, let alone a reader on the other side of the fourth wall (I think that’s what I mean, you know what I’m getting at, don’t you?) and it infected her whole life. And the ending was just so….. well, just SO. I had to read the penultimate chapter twice just to make sure I’d understood where this was all going.
Very unsettling. So much unpleasantness and death. Feeling of being effectively alone in a strange city very disquieting. Still living with me several days after I finished it.