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Book DetailsISBN: 9781529408331
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Book Review: Sleepless by Romy Hausmann - Reviewed by CloggieA (28 May 2021)
4.5?s Sleepless is the fourth novel by best-selling German author, Romy Hausmann. It is translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch. Late one Friday afternoon, at the offices of high-profile Berlin legal firm Abramczyk and van Hoven, Nadja Kulka gets a visit from her boss’s wife. Laura van Hoven is the closest to a friend that Nadja has ever had, so she won’t ignore a request for help.
The body on her living room floor is a shock, but Laura is the mother of four-ear-old Vivi, so Nadja agrees: she can’t go to prison. And Laura is terrified of how her husband, Gero will react, so disposing of her lover’s body quickly is imperative.
Nadja had definitely not been expecting, the next morning, to be driving a Land Rover with a dead body in the boot to a remote cottage in the woods near Spreewald. A combination of nervous tension and PTSD flashbacks mean her journey is not quite as low-profile as she had intended, but when she arrives at the cottage, things get really bizarre.
There are several narrative strands: the present day (2019) is from Nadja’s perspective; from 2014 onwards is told from multiple perspectives; and extracts from unsent/unwritten letters to a sibling, written for the purpose of therapy, fill in some back story. Initially, the disconnect between these three strands make the whole story quite disjointed, but eventually there is some cohesion.
Hausmann has created a tightly plotted tale in which the reader will be constantly second-guessing initial suspicions as yet another pertinent fact is drip-fed into the narrative, although this technique does begin to wear a little thin by the final reveal. There are so many twists that the reader might want to pre-book a chiropractic visit.
Nadja might be an unreliable narrator and, despite her past, she seems to be readily influenced and less circumspect about trusting others than she ought to; certainly, her friendship with Laura borders on toxic. The behaviour of several of these high-profile lawyers towards their clients is questionable, at best. Unquestionable a page-turner. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Quercus Editions
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