This book follows Jane, a pregnant woman who has recently moved to Berlin from the UK to be with her partner, Petra. She grows concerned about her young neighbour Anna, and the plot follows Jane’s increasingly obsessive and dark thoughts.
The book is told from Jane’s point of view, which allows the audience to go along with her delusional thinking. It creates a trapped feeling and I found it easy to empathise with Jane in the beginning of the book. The problem was that the more I read the book, the less I cared about what happened to Jane. I found the character of Alban Mann to be the most interesting. I was disappointed that the book didn’t answer a lot of the things I wanted to know about him, as there was a lot of build up to his character.
The location of the book is also important – not so much Berlin itself, although I’d have liked more description of the city, but just the fact that Jane is in a foreign place with no understanding of the language. As someone who has lived abroad and not been able to speak my new country’s language I could definitely identify with the feelings Jane experiences.
I didn’t really understand why this book was called The Girl on the Stairs, as Anna is Jane’s neighbour. The title had made me believe it was someone that Jane could only see on the stairs, rather than someone who lived next to her. I liked the cover of the book too, although I think it was slightly misleading as to what the book was actually about.
This book is an easy and quick read, and I particularly liked the way the author managed to encapsulate the feelings of being in a foreign country, unable to speak the language, and the slight paranoia that can come with not understanding what other people are saying. The build up of the plot was also interesting, although the climax of the book felt too rushed and I was left with a lot of unanswered questions.
I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I don’t think this book is particularly memorable because of it’s weak ending, as very little actually seems to happen in the book.