The Girl on the Landing - Paul Torday
PAUL Torday s first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was an instant hit and became a number one hardback bestseller in 2007. His second, The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce, was acclaimed by reviewers. His third, The Girl on the Landing (�12.9
PAUL Torday's first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was an instant hit and became a number one hardback bestseller in 2007.
His second, The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce, was acclaimed by reviewers.
His third, The Girl on the Landing (�12.99, Weidenfeld & Nicolson), is another triumph - a combination of gripping ghost story and study of mental illness.
Torday tells his tale through the voices of husband and wife Michael and Elizabeth.
Theirs is a dull marriage. Michael is wealthy and decent but he is boring, obsessed with his Mayfair gentlemen's club and his family estate in Scotland.
On a weekend in a country house, Michael is struck by the painting of a girl in a vivid green dress. But when he mentions it to his hosts, they insist there is no girl in the painting.
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And when he looks again, he finds they are right.
From then on, Michael begins to change. He meets the mysterious girl several times.
He also becomes less boring and more passionate. Suddenly he is a man with whom Elizabeth could fall in love.
Then, one day she finds a packet of antipsychotic drugs prescribed to Michael. And it seems he hasn't been taking them for a while.
Elizabeth realises that there are things in Michael's background she doesn't know, and she sets out to find out - with horrifying consequences.
Torday writes beautifully and sympathetically of both characters and seems to show an understanding of schizophrenia. A compelling read.
- LINDSAY JONES