Wednesday 29 November 2017

You Should Have Left

Finished November 15
You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Ross Benjamin

I picked up this short novel, intrigued by the title, but it turned out to be quite a surprise. The narrator of the story is a writer, struggling with a new play. He is beginning a vacation in the mountains with his wife Susanna, an actress, and their four-year-old daughter Esther. While away, he is also supposed to be working on his new play, and his agent Schmidt calls periodically to check in.
The characters in his new play and scenes that he is writing are here in the book too, and sometimes these characters seem to get placed into the settings that he finds himself in.
As the book progresses, the unnamed narrator seems to sense that the house they are renting has oddities to it, and as a reader, you aren't sure what is happening, whether the odd things that begin to become more and more prevalent are real, are imagined, a manifestation of a mental illness or some sort of psychological horror.
At one point, he begins to hear a voice telling him that he should have left this place, hence the book's title. A very captivating and unsettling read.

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