I found this book very unsettling because it brought back some uncomfortable memories for me. It is the story of Clarissa who is stalked by Rafe, a man who goes to extraordinary lengths to terrorise her. I could totally empathise with Clarissa’s feelings of fear at being constantly watched as something similar happened to me in my twenties. However my own situation was vastly different to Clarissa’s, but looking back now, I wonder whether I should have reported it, but this all occurred in the early 1980s and things were very different then.
I used to work in the local bank and one day, one of the regular customers handed me a folded up piece of paper across the counter. Thinking it was just part of his normal banking transaction, I opened it. It was a picture of a topless woman taken from a calendar. His words were, “That’s you, isn’t it?”.
Of course, I laughed it off and thought nothing of it. But then, every lunch-time he seemed to be outside the bank. Everywhere I went, I always used to see him. I was even aware of him in the car behind me on the way home on a couple of occasions. The worst incident – I got to the car park after work one evening and he had parked his car so close to mine that I couldn’t get to the driver’s door. He wound down his window and said, “You can always get into mine.” I didn’t. I got into my passenger seat and very clumsily shuffled across to the driver’s seat, easing myself over the gear-stick and handbrake. That was the moment when I should have marched back to the bank and got one of the men to come back with me. As it was, for the next few days, I did get one of the guys to accompany me to my car in the evening. The man moved away and I didn’t see him again. But I do remember the fear, of leaving the bank and wondering if he was going to be there. Therefore, I could relate to Clarissa in the novel although thankfully, my experience was nothing when compared to hers; Rafe is manipulative, obsessive and dangerous.
Back to the book. It switches between first person narrative and third person narrative which, once I got into it, didn’t bother me. First person is Clarissa writing in her notebook. I found the book an excellent read, it unsettled me, it kept me on edge, although the ending did leave me a little unsatisfied – I wanted to know what happened next. But don’t let that put you off, it was an excellent psychological thriller.