Red Wheelbarrow Book Reviews
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The Woman in the Fifthby Douglas Kennedy
“A book you can’t put down”, “A page turner” and on and on. Indeed, a true thriller beautifully, skillfully written and observed. A master craftsman who gets all the detail just right, whose prose is smooth and in this case, deals with the Paris we would just as soon not experience ourselves but which we adore reading about – at a safe distance, in our gardens or living rooms.
The novel is set in the tenth arrondissement among the poor and wretched Turkish immigrants doing illegal work in sordid places. Our hero Harry Ricks, escaped from a brutal and cruel fate in his college town in the US. takes his chances to write the novel of his life while surviving on an illegal job working as nightwatchman in an utterly scary and threatening atmosphere.
The plot becomes more and more bloody and our hero gets closer and closer to the criminals who become more and more involved with his existence.
Harry meets, inevitably, the beautiful Hungarian woman whose love he seeks only to discover her power over him. Whereas he lives in the dark and ominous rue du Paradis, she lives in the sunny and elegant world of the fifth where the streets are gay and luminous and fear does not exist on the streets of restaurants, cafes and movie houses.
We stay glued to the plot. We turn the pages anxiously and remain absorbed to the end.