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The Girl On The Landing

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,000 ratings  ·  221 reviews
Is Michael ill, or could the disturbing events he is witnessing possibly be real? A thrilling novel about identity and love from the author of 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen'.
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Weidenfeld and Nicolsen (first published 2009)
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 ·  2,000 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How comfortable that idea is: that everything wrong with the human race is the result of some malfunction, some microscopic chemical change in our brains, some evolutionary wrong turning in our genetic code.

The Girl On The Landing is the third novel by British author, Paul Torday. For ten years, Elizabeth has been married to Michael Gascoigne, ten years that Elizabeth says demonstrated that at least I had commitment, although in my bleaker moments I thought that it might just be inertia.
This was recommended to me by a friend who said it shared a similar theme with something I've written. I just dearly hope it was just the theme and that the quality and style of the writing are in no way similar. Only people who know me should read this review TBH.

Have some thoughts/observations...
(view spoiler)
Jan 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Pleasant, enjoyable, entertaining read.
Susanne Hopkinson
May 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you have read Salmon Fishing in Yemen you will enjoy this book, although it is a bit different. I actually found it rather creepy and actually looked behind me when going upstairs at night to bed. The story follows Michael, an unusual bloke, no money worries, crumbling estate in Scotland. He is quiet, reserved and married to Elizabeth. The story unfolds through each character's point of view. Is Michael starting to fall apart into a different reality - ie schizophrenia - or has he really seen ...more
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's safe to say that The Girl On The Landing isn't one of those books that suck you in instantly. It takes time, and a bit of genuine effort to get into the flow of the book, but once you do it's truly hard to stop reading.

I have to be honest, The Girl On The Landing isn't on top of my list of favourite books, but it's pretty damn close. Where as the slow-paced beginning almost put me off the book, the second half made me finish it in a matter of hours.

Towards the ending of the book I found
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
An easy read with a beautiful setting. I wasn't fond of the unanswered questions at the end. Elizabeth was a bland character. I enjoyed the chapters from Michael's perspective more.
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I will have to think some more about this book. Is it believable? I guess for the plot to be so I have to accept the author's premise that evil has a genetic basis and can be passed through generations, the 'bad seed' theory. There is something nagging at me about the storyline though, as though I have missed a clue that will make the whole novel more plausible. This book is a gothic thriller, set not in the genre of the nineteenth century but in the Scottish highlands of the twenty-first ...more
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well well well, I certainly was not expecting that. Don't read a blurb, don't read a synopsis if you'd like an old Victorian Gothic horrors set in the cold, remote of Scotland (my home!) dive right in like I did and be swept away in a tale that leaves you breathless. The twist and turns come thick and fast, astounding you at every turn of the page. A fantastic, and indeed, a very gripping read, I started an finished on the same day!
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a library book read for Hartwell WI book club.

The book started out to be just another relationship drama, but as Michael dispeared and Mikey emerged as the book progressed it became more and more like a thriller. I didn't quite understand the Lamia references through the book, but that was made clear at the end. The book kept me hooked in and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to hearing what the rest of the book club think of it tonight.
What a fantastic novel. It is scary and thought provoking and heartbreaking. But so good. Have so many questions. Was it real or not?
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book with an interesting approach, if nothing else.

Contemporary books with Victorian era suspense are rather sparse, so I was glad to come across this one since I completely, completely adore gothic horror. There's something very special in that style - above all it is the way how the most respectful and well-behaved ladies and gentlemen become faced with something completely inexplicable and monstrous that defies their rationalist world view. But not only that, in this book
Rodrigo Acuna
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Apparitions and mental conditions, inventions and creations of the mind."

This story is about letting go, returning to a more wild state, a place before nations and nationalities a place where legends, sensual, sexual passions and the true savage live, a place where you follow your instincts till you howl at the moon. Commune with the goddess and hunt animal all animals, till you disappear into the primordial forest in your mind.

A marriage of convenience between two strangers, and old fashion
Wiebke (1book1review)
So I went into this book not knowing what it was about and I went out of this book still unsure of what I just read.
The story is narrated by two narrators, Elizabeth and Michael, who lead a rather cold marriage. Nothing exciting happens, Elizabeth keeps going on about how she got into this situation and that she is okay with her dull, desinterested husband.
Until things start changing and he starts paying attention to her, showing her what her marriage could have been like and she falls in love
Katy Noyes
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mysterious tale of a man with secrets... it grew on me as I read on

I didn't like this much to start with, but I persevered as I have loved other Torday novels. As I came to understand the characters more and see the twists emerge, I appreciated the build-up, the tricks employed, the tension built. It reminded me a little of 'Death of an Owl' in terms of some of the characters and situations.

An enigmatic man, quite cool and hard to fathom proposes to a woman he first meets at a party. Having
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a really enjoyable and interesting read. The perfect easy read for a road trip or flight.

I read somewhere this book being described as a subtle ghost story and that's the perfect description. It also really aptly captures a particular sliver of British society, the upper class not royalty type. And their struggle with changing society, particularly with regards to race. It also captures an interesting portrayal of mental illness. In the end, I wasn't impressed with how the character
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Paul Torday. It kept me on the edge of my chair. I don't want to put any spoilers in, but it did interweave human drama, English manners, suspense, and something extra... sort of dark, sort of odd, and it kept me turning the pages! I won't say any more...
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great read. Especially the last 3rd...i couldn't put it down. It turned into a real page turner.
Val Penny
I have often said that one of the reasons that I enjoy being part of a book group is that I am required, at least once a month, to read out of my comfort zone. The Girl on the Landing by Paul Torday was well out of my comfort zone! I had heard of Paul Torday and his first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen which was published in 2007, was made into a major British film starring Ewan McGregor in 2011. So I was very interested to be reading a book by this author. He turned to writing late in life ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is possibly the most unexpected horror story I've ever read. It isn't really a horror story, of course - but by the time I was about halfway through, I was reading it with such an overpowering sense of foreboding, it might as well have been!

The story starts very prosaically, with two rather boring people married to each other and doing ordinary things. I guess some people might have found the start slow, but almost immediately there are indications that Michael isn't quite himself and that
Molly Whitelock
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This book was lent to me by a friend. I didn't really like the look of the blurb itself but I trust her instincts, and right I was to.
So, I started reading it and immediately, I loved the way it was written, I haven't read a book set the way it was before, so it was really refreshing.
After a few chapters I quickly was into the plot of the book. I'm not going to lie the foreshadowing of the book was quite intense so I picked up on a lot of the things that was revealed about Michael. However the
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've been totally gripped by this book over the past couple of days. I enjoyed 'Salmon Fishing', but found this one much more of an entralling read.

Paul Torday explores the degeneration of the the mind so well - as Michael stops taking his anti-psychotic medication he slowly and certainly slips back into the grip of schizophrenia. His wife, Elizabeth, who has spent the past 10 years of their marriage feeling rather underwhelmed suddenly discovers a new side to her husband, a side that she finds
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
After spending about 2 months reading 2666, it was a relief and a joy to be able to finish a book in just 2 or 3 days. I AM still a reader! Hurrah!

So thanks to this book for that.

Otherwise, shrug. It was forgettable.

"The Girl On The Landing" was spooky and suspenseful, and I haven't read a book like that in a very long time. It's a bit of a psychological thriller, with the main character slowly turning into an evil elf from Lord of the Rings and sloughing off his dull, stodgy, upper class
I went from thinking this was a ghost story, to one about mental health, but by the end decided its open to all sorts of conclusions. The fact that others could see Lamia was perplexing.
The tension builds gradually and is sustained during the last part well. This was a pretty gripping read. It was a bit creepy reading last thing at night!
While not my favourite of Torday's books (I love the inheritance of Wilberforce book) it was one I enjoyed.
I did wonder at giving away so much of the Charlie
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can imagine that when an authors falls into the temptation to leave ALL relevant information to the very last 10 pages, he/she might think the ending would be spectacular and unforgettable but as a reader I find it offensive.

One thing is to reveal bits of information throughout the chapters that finally make sense all together at the end (a great and intelligent writing resource that many authors master) an another is to withhold information just to compensate the lack of writing creativity,
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me of an old Alfred Hitchcock movie. I could easily see it in my mind. In my movie version of the story, Michael and Elizabeth are played by Edward Herrman and Kelly Bishop - the parents on Gilmore girls. Something about the dialogue - I couldn't see them as the somewhat young couple they were supposed to be. The book had all the creepiness of a Hitchcock thriller, and leaves you with more questions than it answers.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
The book is very well written. I enjoy Torday's books. But I found myself reluctant to finish it because, right from the beginning, I had a sense of where it was heading. And I did not want it to go there. I wanted some kind of salvation which I knew was never going to happen. The book left me feeling slightly raw.

Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I liked this quirky tale though I wasn't too convinced by the ending. There was an air of potential menace throughout which added to the book's appeal and the plot definitely held my attention. A million times better than "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" which I didn't like, at all.
Carey Combe
Clever - that is to say, I don't like ghost stories (as I really don't believe in them), but I love, plausible, scary stories that have rational reasons for a 'ghost's' existence in someone else's life.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another reason to dump YA trash and read age appropriate adult fictions. Highly satisfactory psychological thriller. Beautiful and literary. Would have been a 5 star book if not for the last few pages of the book which I felt was unnecessary. Should have ended with Michael's Pov.
Michelle Taljaard
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Took considerable effort to get into this one. The final bit made it worth it though!
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Paul Torday burst on to the literary scene in 2007 with his first novel, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, an immediate international bestseller that has been translated into 28 languages and has been made into a film starring Ewan McGregor, Kristin Scott Thomas and Emily Blunt. His subsequent novels, THE IRRESISTIBLE INHERITANCE OF WILBERFORCE, THE GIRL ON THE LANDING, THE HOPELESS LIFE OF CHARLIE ...more

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