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The Girl Below: A Novel
     

The Girl Below: A Novel

by Bianca Zander
 

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A powerful and truly haunting debut novel from Bianca Zander with a spine-tingling hint of the gothic and supernatural, The Girl Below enthralls with a strange magic akin to the works of Audrey Niffenegger, Haruki Murakami, and Sarah Waters. Zander’s novel is a story of parents and children; of love, regret, and second chances. When a young English

Overview

A powerful and truly haunting debut novel from Bianca Zander with a spine-tingling hint of the gothic and supernatural, The Girl Below enthralls with a strange magic akin to the works of Audrey Niffenegger, Haruki Murakami, and Sarah Waters. Zander’s novel is a story of parents and children; of love, regret, and second chances. When a young English woman, recently returned to London after a ten-year absence, finds herself slipping back into her childhood, she must solve the mysteries of her dysfunctional family—and unearths disturbing secrets that could shatter everything she believes about who she is and her place in the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zander's haunting debut novel reveals a only child, Suki Piper, who returns to London after a self-imposed 10-year exile in New Zealand hoping to exorcise lingering demons of a party her parents threw when she was eight. Suki, fearful of much-including a statue owned by an elderly neighbor, and an abandoned World War II air raid bunker-has her expectations of self-discovery in London deflated when, unable to find employment, the 28 year-old imposes on unwilling friends for lodging. An opportunity to temporarily care for an elderly former neighbor returns her to the flat where she grew up and her flashbacks intensify. Zander deftly advances Suki's quest for self by alternating her life in 1981 and 2003, documenting a series of events that left her seeking drug-fueled oblivion. Her poor vision and thick glasses metaphorically mirror her inability to see the world as it is, even when friends and family reprimand her for her pity parade. Yet, Suki cannot move on until she can terminate the frightening dissociative trips into the menacing bunker of her childhood fears. Although Suki's aimless unreliability becomes tedious, Zander pulls her together for a final epiphany in this well-crafted novel whose emotional impact will linger after the final page.
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Marianne Elliott
“The mystery at the core of this beautifully crafted novel was so compelling that I couldn’t sleep until I finished it. . . . This is a wonderful, surprising and accomplished debut novel.”
New Zealand Herald
“A terrific read — the sort of book you don’t want to put down, and then stays with you when you do . . . Zander works the entwined themes of estrangement and strangeness beautifully.”
Samuel Park
“Zander’s debut brims with truth; her accuracy of detail and way with words can be dizzying. This is a nuanced, complex portrait of contemporary female subjectivity.”
Curtis Sittenfeld
“I just loved THE GIRL BELOW—it’s so real and moving, so funny and smart, so sharp and artful. In every sense, Bianca Zander is a fantastic writer, and I’m recommending this magical novel to all my friends.”
Sarah Laing
“Sharp, incisive, funny, THE GIRL BELOW is an intoxicating read. Combining gritty coming-of-age realism with time-travelling weirdness, Zander’s writing brings the genius of Murakami to mind.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062108166
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/19/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.88(d)

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What People are Saying About This

Sarah Laing
“Sharp, incisive, funny, THE GIRL BELOW is an intoxicating read. Combining gritty coming-of-age realism with time-travelling weirdness, Zander’s writing brings the genius of Murakami to mind.”
Curtis Sittenfeld
“I just loved THE GIRL BELOW—it’s so real and moving, so funny and smart, so sharp and artful. In every sense, Bianca Zander is a fantastic writer, and I’m recommending this magical novel to all my friends.”
Samuel Park
“Zander’s debut brims with truth; her accuracy of detail and way with words can be dizzying. This is a nuanced, complex portrait of contemporary female subjectivity.”
Marianne Elliott
“The mystery at the core of this beautifully crafted novel was so compelling that I couldn’t sleep until I finished it. . . . This is a wonderful, surprising and accomplished debut novel.”

Meet the Author

Bianca Zander is British-born but has lived in New Zealand for the past two decades. Her first novel, The Girl Below, was a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and she is the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Louis Johnson New Writers' Bursary and the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, recognizing her as one of New Zealand's eminent writers. She is a lecturer in creative writing at the Auckland University of Technology.

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