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Dream Girl by Laura Lippman: Confusion, trauma and violence

Laura Lippman’s 25th novel, Dream Girl, throws the world into a world of apprehension with a questionable male protagonist

Confident storytelling can be found in Laura Lippman’s 25th novel Dream Girl. The American writer is having a lot of fun here with her central character, Gerry Anderson, a literary author whose one massive hit novel, Dream Girl, is many years behind him. After a fall down some stairs, Gerry is stuck in his Baltimore apartment with just his nurse and personal assistant to help. When he gets a call from a woman claiming to be the inspiration for his book, Gerry’s world is thrown out of kilter, leading to confusion, trauma and violence.

Lippman gives nods to all sorts of cultural touchstones here, from Rear Window to Misery, but it is through her central character that she really digs deep into current societal ripples. Gerry is beginning to realise he might be held accountable for some questionable behaviour in his past, but refuses to succumb to the #MeToo movement’s machinations.

Full of painkillers, he starts to lose his grip on reality, unsure if what he’s experiencing is real. With various women circling him, he becomes paranoid about their intentions, leading to a thrilling climax in a novel that’s as much about the world we live in today as the stories we create to reveal who we are.

Dream Girlby Laura Lippman is out now (Faber & Faber, £14.99)

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