(Europa, May 2010, $ 15.00)
Annie Fairhurst: very overweight, addicted to self help books and completely out of touch with reality moves into a "semi-detached" row house in a quiet English town. Her shady past (involving a dead husband and infant daughter) is slowly unveiled as she convinces herself the attractive man living next door – with his nineteen year old girlfriend, Lucy – is besotted with her, simply because he shows her kindness.
Attraction turns to obsession as Annie's behavior becomes more and more insane. She goes from listening to the couple through the walls to shoving her garbage through their mail slot, even stealing the girl's dress off the clothes line so she can find one exactly like it and show Neil – the object of her affection – how much better her "curves" look in it than Lucy's thin body. All this designed to make Lucy seem hysterical and unreasonable. And for a while it works well.
Annie's account of the story differs from that of the other characters in the book, who give us much more insight into her insanity. The reader soon realizes Annie's a totally unreliable narrator, which only adds that much more interest to the story.
Forget eating, sleeping and the outside world. You won't be able to put this one down. I finished its 352 pages in two days. Fantastically gripping and beautifully written.
[I read a library copy of this book.]