Reviewing a psychological thrillers is always a bit difficult to do without revealing spoilers, (especially if the reviewer is like me and doesn’t read very many of the genre) but some are more difficult than others. Berlin Syndrome, the debut novel of Melbourne author Melanie Joosten, relies for its impact on the reader’s gradual realisation that things are not what they seem. So I’m not going to tell you much about this book at all except that you ought not read it late at night and not at all if you are claustrophobic.
There are (almost) only two characters. Clare is a photojournalist on leave from her job in Australia, travelling through eastern Europe. She’s researching a book about Soviet architecture, waiting patiently to take her shots so that there are never any people in the photo. Andi is a Berliner, a somewhat reluctant teacher of English. They meet by chance near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, and are attracted to each other. And she goes home with him.
You have been warned!
Melanie Joosten won the $15,000 Kathleen Mitchell Award for this novel. For more information about this award, click here.
Author: Melanie Joosten
Title: Berlin Syndrome
Publisher: Scribe 2011
Source: Personal library, purchased from Embiggen Books $29.95
Fishpond: Berlin Syndrome