Shuttered Life by Florentine Roth, translated Jennifer Marquart


This is one of my WIT Month reads and it was pretty good.

The back cover summary:

When her uncle suffers a heart attack, young Berlin photographer Elisa Westphal returns to her family home in Düsseldorf for the first time in many years. Relations have been strained ever since her father’s death, and Elisa finds the reunion desperately uncomfortable. It’s all made worse by the clash between her liberal big-city ways and the rigid formality of life at the family manor. It seems that everyone in town is behaving oddly, even her childhood crush. Is it simply old tensions reemerging, or is something more sinister at play? When Elisa begins receiving menacing notes, she sets to work narrowing down the suspects. As the dangerous incidents pile up, it seems to Elisa that someone is trying to chase her away. But why?

The book drew me in fairly quickly. I mean, right in the prologue. I found the writing style compelling. It was all the little things, like the way the backstory between the rest of the family and the protagonist unraveled, the way she dealt with her suspicions, and way the author delivered snippets of point of view from the antagonist, and the way that the author kept enough ambiguity in the antagonist’s disdain for the protagonist that I wasn’t entirely sure who it was until the reveal. I’d had suspicions, but the author did a really good job of making everyone suspicious until close to the end.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it did not blow my mind or provide some new wisdom about life, so that’s why it only got 3 stars. It’s a good, short book that I’d easily recommended to anyone.

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