Dream Girl

Laura Lippman

Publisher/Year: Faber/2021

Publisher description

How can a woman who never existed come back to haunt you?

Gerry Anderson has been having trouble sleeping. He’s unwell – bed-bound – and has only his night nurse and his PA for company. But what’s really troubling him are the phone calls. Phone calls from a woman claiming to be the ‘real’ Aubrey.

But that can’t be. Aubrey’s just a character Gerry made up in a book, years ago.

Can Gerry see past the ever-blurring lines of fact and fiction and figure out who is threatening him, or has his long-overdue moment of reckoning finally arrived?

Reviewer: Jacqui Horwood

Dream Girl by Laura Lippman is a psychological thriller with shades of Misery and a dose of Rear Window. Gerry Anderson is a writer whose debut novel, Dream Girl, was a bestseller. His rest of his career however has never really hit the same heights. When we meet him, Gerry is bedridden, heavily medicated and isolated after an accident.

Gerry begins to receive phone calls from the Dream Girl of his debut novel. Aubrey is back and demanding recompense for his sins. Is he hallucinating? Or does Aubrey really exist? Does his strange nurse, Aileen, have anything to do with what is going on?

Gerry is a character that will be familiar to many women. Gerry thinks he is the good guy but as he reminisces about former wives and lovers, we see he is not the person he hopes he is. Even the plot of his debut book is an eye-rolling cliche – gorgeous young woman sleeps with the older man and then leaves when she is no longer needed. In the wake of #Metoo, it is a timely exploration of sexual behaviour and its repercussions.

Dream Girl is a slow moving and hallucinatory unravelling of Gerry’s life. Laura Lippman’s writing is as strong as ever as she weaves together several time periods and takes us unerringly to the final twist.