The Girl Below: A Novel

Overview

Suki Piper is a stranger in her hometown. . . .

After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won't let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy—an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up—convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier. But the more involved she becomes with Peggy's dysfunctional family, including Peggy's wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds ...

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The Girl Below

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Overview

Suki Piper is a stranger in her hometown. . . .

After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won't let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy—an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up—convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier. But the more involved she becomes with Peggy's dysfunctional family, including Peggy's wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds herself mysteriously slipping back in time—to the night of a party her parents threw in their garden more than twenty years ago, when something happened in an old, long-unused air-raid shelter. . . .

A breathtaking whirlwind of mystery, transgression, and self-discovery, Bianca Zander's The Girl Below is a haunting tale of secrets, human frailty, and dark memory that heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new literary talent.

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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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.”
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."
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."
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."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062108166
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

British-born Bianca Zander has lived in Auckland, New Zealand, for the past two decades. An established journalist, she has written for numerous publications, including The Listener, the Sunday Star-Times, and the Dominion Post. She has produced radio shows and written for film and television, including writing the dramatic short film The Handover, which screened in competition at the Chicago Film Festival. Bianca holds an M.A. in creative writing from Victoria University, Wellington. The Girl Below is her first novel.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Interesting........

    I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. It was a good storyline but sometimes was confusing. It did not end the way I thought it would. Overall, it was worth the time I spent reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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