Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Woman in the Fifth by Douglas Kennedy

The Woman in the Fifth
Douglas Kennedy
Hutchinson

HARRY RICKS is a bad man to cross. Bad things happen to those who do him wrong.

He's also a haunted man, on the run in Paris after blowing his suburban life to bits. Behind him in the rubble are a marriage (defunct), a lover (dead by suicide) and a career (casualty of events).

He's as far down as he can fall. Or so he thinks. But one consolation: for years, he's taken French classes, planning to give it all up one day and go to Paris to write.

It's a gripping story, but forgettable, because of the coldness and dislikeability of every character but one.

In Paris, Harry falls ill and is selflessly aided by a kindly Turk, who is almost immediately written out of the story.

After that, Harry finds night work with nasty people doing something unknown but probably unspeakable. He takes a foray into a literary salon for some hostile flirting with a mystery woman from the classy Fifth Arrondissement, who soon comes to play all too important a part in his life.

The novel follows every rule of storytelling: every event torques the horror up; every page has a new surprise, a twist.

We may expect to see it on the screen any day soon.

1 comment:

Henric Kallen said...

I have read many rewievs of this book on the net. They all seem to be missing the point. Almost everyone seems to think that Rick really meets a woman when it is clear that she is just a projection of himself. She does ´nt exist. Rick comes to Paris traumatised, he starts leading av destructive life, constantly working, seeing movies and taking sleeping pills. He goes over the edge. He commits every murder in the book. He takes revenge on everything that has happened to him. Too make it bearable his subconscious invents this woman who he can blame for the murders.

The book has nothing to do with fantasy or otherwordly things. Rick is a very sick man and a serial killer.