People in the Room by Norah Lange

People in the Room

Norah Lange

This was an exceptional book, it took a while, but I've finally got my head around it. A nameless young girl is obsessed by three women living opposite her house, and she has detailed morbid fantasies about them. A bit of voyeurism lives inside all of us, but this writer takes it to another level. Both intriguing and mesmerising, I found this an original, if slow read.

Extract

It might have been the last night I was happy at home in the dining room. Very carefully, I spread some butter on a slice of bread, but placed it on the table before lifting it to my mouth. I looked at the wall and tried to summon their faces, but it didn't matter if I couldn't see them. I felt briefly as if I was dreaming up something dangerous, but for now I wanted to be coy, even if only this once. But no one looked at me as if I was behaving strangely. It saddened me a little to think that so many things could happen to me for which I might not be ready, or that I might be causing events the results of which I could not predict; that my life could change, suffer real disturbances, swing from love to hate, that I might become obsessed with the faces, and fall into the hands of three wayward women, who would cry out the lines of my palm, forcing me to hold it out to them daily, threatening that if I didn't obey them, my life line might be cut short, and no one would ever guess, or suspect I was in danger.

Parallels
  • Tropisms by Nathalie Sarraute
  • The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras
  • Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock