Book review - The Upstairs Room, Kate Murray-Browne
Is it the house itself that is making Eleanor sick or is it the disturbed vestigial imprint of those who lived it in before?
With just a hint of the woo-woo for the modern age, THE UPSTAIRS ROOM is a polished and unsettling novel that skates between being a ghost story of a kind, and a very accomplished modern relationship drama. The book has terrific flow. We’re well aware of the ever present malevolent shadow of doom hanging over all occupants of the house, and we also soon realize that all of them are in face suffering from the same malady; only it takes different forms for each of them. The sensation of hopelessness weighing down their actions inexorably creeps them towards disaster and it is a suspenseful journey towards resolution.
THE UPSTAIRS ROOM cleverly taps into common relationship concerns; the imbalance of power, the writing off of women’s real concerns as female melodrama and people’s ability to live in the same house as others and yet live separate lives. The people in this book are trapped by financial restrictions, societal expectations and then there’s the whole creepy house syndrome doing no one any favours. THE UPSTAIRS ROOM is a deliciously spooky read which includes an immersive personal narrative of three complicated adults who find themselves adrift in their lives whilst at the same time unable to distance themselves from the problems that haunt them.