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Nelly's Version

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  28 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In acclaimed author Eva Figes' inventive reshaping of the pop psychological thriller, her fifth novel opens as Nelly Dean, a middle-aged woman suffering from amnesia, checks into a small-town hotel with a suitcase full of cash and no idea where it - or she - came from. Distrustful of everyone from the waiter who serves her lunch to a store clerk who claims to know her from ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1977)
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Nate D
Mar 19, 2015 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: alienated downtowns
Recommended to Nate D by: identically empty homes
Opens in a particularly thrilling kind of existential noir confusion (a women checks into a hotel under an assumed name with a case of money -- and promptly realizes she has no idea of her identity or how she came to be there), and begins exploration of its world amid a portents equally of impending doom, and of the impending utterly mundane. The narrative goes through many reinventions -- first an erosion by that mundanity, which carries the narrators plight from initial mystery into a kind of ...more
MJ Nicholls

A sleepy novel about an amnesiac who wakes up in a strange hotel room and goes for long boring pastoral walks which are described in painful detail, and meets an old (maybe) friend who has an unlikely dialogue with her in a shop before being violently assaulted and then her (maybe) son turns up and she acts haughty towards him for the whole book and then she has wrinkly sex with her (maybe) husband and then looks in mirrors then does something or other but the book peters off with no real climax
Apr 03, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it
excellent amnesia novel: Woman in a hotel with no memory of what happened before she got there. Everyday encounters at the station and shop and cafe take on eerie significance, and I was caught up in the intrigue. I liked the fact that it was Britain in the 70s too. Towards the end her past does catch up with her but Figes doesn't tie up all the loose ends (eg what about that suitcase of money?). I liked that. A bit like the film Repulsion at times although more genteel - she tries to get people ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Pamela rated it liked it
“I was alone, with myself, a stranger.”

What would it be like to wake-up one day and not know who you are or why you’re doing what you are doing, or even where you are doing it?

“He watched my hand slide across the page as I signed a false name and address in the hotel register. I admired my own coolness: I had seen it done in so many films and now I was doing it myself.”

Nelly has a forceful personality, doesn’t suffer fools, and has a keen sense of adventure. But she can’t quite understand why pe
Jonathan Norton
Jun 25, 2012 Jonathan Norton rated it liked it
A lonely old woman loses her sense of identity as dementia takes hold. Like B.S.Johnson's "House Mother Normal", we are seeing the same events from multiple, fractured perspectives, in this case the same human being recording her impressions in different phases of a deteriorating condition.
I was really looking forward to reading this, but was so put off by a sentence regarding rape, very early on, regarding the pleasures of rape (for the girl) that I can't make myself pick it up again.
Feb 08, 2009 Auntie rated it liked it
unusual, intriguing
Robert Wechsler
Jun 15, 2013 Robert Wechsler marked it as tasted
Shelves: british-lit
Too hermetic for my taste. I much preferred Light.
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Eva Figes (born Eva Unger) is a German-born English author.

Figes has written novels, literary criticism, studies of feminism, and vivid memoirs relating to her Berlin childhood and later experiences as a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany. She arrived in Britain in 1939 with her parents and a younger brother. Figes is now a resident of north London and the mother of the academic Orlando Figes an
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