The Girl on the Landing, By Paul Torday
Sunday 04 October 2009
This is a tricky one, mainly because the writing is so lamentably prosaic ("the food and the wine were good" – a horribly unimaginative sentence that Torday might have gotten away with had it been intended to display the torpor of his main character's mind, but it's also repeated by that character's wife, and is also indicative of a great deal of the writing in this novel), and the characters so ridiculously stiff, formal and old-fashioned that it's a shock when they mention emails and texts.
But there is something interesting going on somewhere in this tale of the seemingly one-dimensional Michael, whose glimpse of a girl in a painting hung in an old Irish country house triggers strange goings-on, disturbing his bored wife and concerning friends at his London club, Grouchers.
Torday wants to ask deeper questions about identity – there is an unpleasant sub-story about an Indian businessman wanting to join Grouchers. But these never quite emerge, because Torday is also wedded to producing a suspenseful plot. He does succeed with the latter, at least.
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 4 Bruce Forsyth backs assisted dying campaign: 'If I had Alzheimer's or dementia I would do something about it'
- 5 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Poldark, review: Revolution is in the air as women fling mud in the eyes of the silly chaps
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Star Wars: Rogue One trailer: Watch the teaser for the Jedi-less Death Star heist film
Star Wars 7: George Lucas admits he hasn't seen The Force Awakens trailer
Avengers: Age of Ultron: 'After credits' scene leaks online
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate