Manual The Woman in the Fifth: A Novel

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Subscribe now. Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists. Update newsletter preferences. Comments Share your thoughts and debate the big issues. Join the discussion. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Create a commenting name to join the debate Submit. She does have a good on screen chemistry with Hawke.

Sol C Super Reviewer. Jul 31, Solid performances by Hawke and Thomas cannot save this pretentious pseudo-arthouse mess of a film that takes an rugged emotional state of a man and ponders on and on through a grim urban setting that reflects the innter state of the protagonist. The cinematography and imagery is all good but the pacing and structure is all over the place and far to artsy for my taste. Henrik S Super Reviewer. Mar 28, I have a dilemma in reviewing the Ethan Hawke vehicle "Woman In The Fifth"; for if I even begin to describe what takes place here I run the risk of possibly revealing something that may well be better left for another viewer to discover or decipher on their own.

Even saying that is perhaps revealing too much, as suffice it to say, everything may not be what it appears to be with the film, and as it rests its hat on said ambiguity I cannot comment further. What I will say is that this film is very atmospheric, filmed in a style where the foreground is always in focus, while the background is often fuzzy.

This point of view is overused in my opinion, though it does give you the sense that all is not quite right with what you are viewing. It's as if director Pawel Pawilowski realized that the script had some serious holes and couldn't decide how best to camouflage - either by getting all artsy hoping the audience would forget the holes or racing past the potholes hoping the audience wouldn't feel the bounce.

Now, I'm going to kind of reveal a spoiler here - the ending is totally predicable and hardly surprising, and for me at least, not the big payoff that Pawilowski was hoping for. For me I felt jerked around, even though the resolution was exactly what I expected it to be Too bad, for the story could have been compelling in surer hands. Oct 19, The story just keeps getting weirder, right up to its strange, twist ending. Carefully composed, artfully gloomy photography and symbolic segue-ways which hint at divergences, and parallel states of being, add a moody, brooding dimension to this disturbing psychological thriller.

Here's the basic setup. After after he breaks into his ex-wife's apartment, his spooked spouse calls the cops. Next, Hicks is robbed on a commuter train -of everything, and finds himself flat broke in Paris' seamy underbelly, the part where the the Morrocans live. Desperate, he must make a deal with shady a flophouse proprietor Guesmi who sets him up with a filthy room across from a crazy neighbor who won't turn his music down or flush the toilet.

And how will Hicks pay for such lush accommodations? The proprietor has that angle figured out, too.

He puts Hicks to work in a fortified control room in an underground crime warehouse. There, Hicks must lock himself in, and man a camera and remote controlled door. As a steady progression of sleazy and sinister people arrive at the subterranean entrance to be let in, bizarre bangs, scraping sounds, and screams fill the creepy corridor outside Hicks's control room.

He finds that he himself is on camera. As soon as he makes a move to investigate the screams, a mysterious voice threatens him with death. Makes sense. Back to work. In his spare time, Hicks attempts to write a second novel, stalks his estranged wife and daughter, and manages to entangle himself with his mobster employer's girlfriend Kulig. As if all of this isn't bizarre enough Hicks's new writing mentor Margit Thomas , an exotic older woman regularly seduces and pampers him. But then there is a murder, followed by a disappearance. Does his new muse knows more about it than she will tell Hicks?

She, and everything surrounding her becomes a conundrum. As Hicks attempts to solve it, the line between fantasy and reality undulates. When Hicks discovers his lover doesn't live at the apartment where he has been meeting her, and realizes that the apartment has been long empty, he must struggle to keep his sanity and find the answer to the riddle. The Woman In The Fifth isn't for everybody.

It's one of those movies that entertains you by raising possibilities and making you think about them. Some viewers might find the ending open-ended and ambiguous, although it really isn't. Even if it isn't you might enjoy the ambiance this film casts. It will give you a dark, haunted feeling that is a perfect match for our cloudy October days. Pamela D Super Reviewer. See all Audience reviews. Tom Ricks: Can we just talk like normal people? Margit: Stay here with me. Tom Ricks: For how long? Margit: Indefinitely.

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The Woman in the Fifth by Douglas Kennedy

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The Woman In The Fifth

Country Music. The Righteous Gemstones. Fear the Walking Dead. A friend of mine leant me this and I would never have picked it up by myself judging a book by its cover and all that but I actually really enjoyed it. An American who is lost in life finds himself in Paris, living in poverty and working in the miserable job of an illegal immigrant the book is very sharp on the squalor of those shadowy workers. At a party he meets an older lady and enters into a curious romantic arrangement with her.

But then an acquantance dies, and everything is turned on i A friend of mine leant me this and I would never have picked it up by myself judging a book by its cover and all that but I actually really enjoyed it. But then an acquantance dies, and everything is turned on its head. The prose style is unobtrusive and keeps the reader turning pages like the best kind of Airport thriller.

What an addictive read. The writing isn't anything eloquent, almost Hemingway-esque in its clipped simplicity "There was a hallway. It was white. There were chairs.

I sat down. This was definitely not the glossy and sweet version of Paris, but rather a grungy, depressing, dark version in the margins. Like "Down and Out" mixed with a little Law and Order and some magical elements that surprised me. I finished it just as I was coming down with the flu, which was What an addictive read. I finished it just as I was coming down with the flu, which was interesting given that the first 30 pages were the narrator suffering through the flu.

His descriptions of the fevered illness played out on me in almost exact detail, malheureusement. Aug 27, Mary Snaddon rated it really liked it Shelves: I am a huge Douglas Kennedy fan. Having read the reviews on this book, one stating "If you loved 'In Pursuit of Happiness' you will hate this," I approached this with a feeling I might not like it. How wrong! I totally loved this. I didn't expect the direction it took, very dark and compelling reading.

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Far fetched? Or perhaps possible? The Woman in the Fifth will stay with me, while other woman fade into oblivion. If you are a DK fan, please don't be put off by the many negative reviews. Try it I am a huge Douglas Kennedy fan. Try it for yourself. Jan 24, Laura rated it it was ok. Being a fan of Douglas Kennedy I expected great things from this but was disappointed.

The book began brilliantly and I loved the portrayal of Paris but, as soon as the supernatural element was introduced I felt that Kennedy went too far off piste. The story lost credibility at the end. The cover, the title, the description on the back I expected something Victorian, romantic, dark The beginning of the end was interesting. But what a long way to get there.

This was my first Kennedy novel and made him my favorite new writer for now. Great writing, plots, suspense, the ending is peculiarly odd with a feel of perhaps rushed, but almost can say who cares. Jul 20, Eslin Hansma rated it it was amazing. I liked this book very much, although i'm still a little mindfucked after finishing it. Jan 16, Kayleigh rated it it was amazing Shelves: favourites.

Ohhh, I adored this. I adored this. Douglas Kennedy simply never lets me down. The quality of the writing here was just stunning. Anytime I pick up a book written by this guy, I am always completely blown away by it and this was definitely the case here. I have come away from this book feeling like I have learned basic French I probably did a horrible job so I am glad I was reading this in my head. My favo Ohhh, I adored this. My favourite character in this book was by far Douglas Kennedy's Paris.

And yes, I do class the setting as a character in itself. This was not the glossy 'city of lights and love' Paris known for it's romance and it's elegance. This was a darker, mostly quite grimy 'underworld' of a city and it was written so beautifully. There was one hell of a twist here Initially I thought 'ohhh, Douglas, what have you done' because I typically do not enjoy ghost stories but I grew quite intrigued by it all in the end.

I'm not sure if it's my favourite direction he's ever taken but I certainly enjoyed every page. The ending lacked conclusion for me I think it was supposed to be a clever sort of 'you make up your own mind' thing but I was so invested in these characters by the end of the book that I did not want to make up my own mind. We had a writer writing about a writer and I think between the two of them they could have cooked up something a little more solid and definitive. I still have so many questions about Margit, her 'world', what ultimately became of Harry But I still loved it and it still gets five stars.

Apr 19, Roderick Hart rated it it was ok. Harry Ricks leaves behind serious problems in his domestic and professional life in the United States by going to Paris. There he meets a woman by the name of Margit Kadar, to whom he turns for solace. Over a period of weeks she learns about him, including how badly certain people have treated him, including his ex-wife and her new partner. He is not being treated at all well by certain people in Paris either, and Harry becomes suspicious when these people start to suffer serious fates, including Harry Ricks leaves behind serious problems in his domestic and professional life in the United States by going to Paris.

He is not being treated at all well by certain people in Paris either, and Harry becomes suspicious when these people start to suffer serious fates, including death. He also notices that thoughts he has expressed to Margit in the form of wish-fulfillments are coming to pass in actuality.

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The inference must be that Margit is behind these events. But how can that be? Can this woman be everywhere at once? It turns out that Margit committed suicide in Despite this fact, here she is in Paris bumping off or otherwise making miserable those who have done Harry down. And then there is her Paris flat. The author gives us a creaking explanation as to why her flat has remained vacant in her name all these years, the annual charges still being met.

But when Harry visits, there is no dust to be seen. So how does it happen that a woman who has been dead for many years can achieve all this?

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Is she a ghost? You could defend all this by claiming that the book is a study in the control of one person by another and that the apparatus of physical life after death operates on the level of metaphor. This book is well written rubbish, best avoided. I've read another book by this author and own two others by him -- I liked him so much after reading one book, I picked up the other two at the Borders going-out-of-business-sale. The plot was interesting, the characters were dark, creepy, mysterious, likable and hatable.

I couldn't read fast enough when the plot picked up in the second half and Harry's world was about to come crumbling down around him again. Then, it got weird. I don't want to spoil it even though some reviews already have , but I'll just say that the Woman in the Fifth is not who I thought she'd be. At All. I liked that she was mysterious. I liked that as a reader you begin to see things before the character Harry does.

I liked that I was suspecting her of wrong doing. So, I gave it three stars because I liked most of it. I think there needs to be a rating for "disappointing" or "good start, bad ending. But I just don't think I can whole-heartedly recommend this one. Sad because he is a talented writer. Unusual story about an American college professor whose life has gone horribly wrong, so he escapes to Paris. Various disasters befall him and he finds himself living in an immigrants bedsit and working as a night watchman for some very shady characters.

He thinks that things are looking up when he meets Margrit, an older Hungarian woman, and they begin an affair, but her dark past comes to influence events. It's hard to say more without giving away the plot; I found the cover image quite mislead Unusual story about an American college professor whose life has gone horribly wrong, so he escapes to Paris. It's hard to say more without giving away the plot; I found the cover image quite misleading - I was expective a redemptive romance but this was much darker, almost a thriller, featuring a very dark side to Paris that one doesn't often read about.

Harry is very passive and a bit useless, which makes him an atypical hero, which makes you feel sorry for him without liking him, as he gets himself into more and more trouble by his own stupidity. I think it's a good book but didn't exactly enjoy it, I just wanted to get to the end to find out what happened.

I liked the writing though and will read more from this author. It's weird how you can enjoy the first half of a story and then the second half turns out to be more disappointing. Indeed, the first part of this story appealed to me: how the character arrives in Paris and describes his struggles and living conditions and the people he encounters. I have been in Paris a few times I live in Belgium, which is only km from the French capital The Parisian atmosphere depicted in the book felt very real to me.

Overall I'm mitigated about the book because th It's weird how you can enjoy the first half of a story and then the second half turns out to be more disappointing. Overall I'm mitigated about the book because the character of Margit disturbed me: it's simple: she is a manipulator and the main character can't escape her manipulation, which is a notion I personally have a lot of trouble with. Overall, I'd say it was an interesting read.


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Sep 15, Caroline rated it liked it. When I took hold of this book at first, the cover of the book gave me the impression that it was going to be some sort of an old romantic story line. I was not in the mood for that until I read the review by The Times that it was a thriller for people who didn't like thriller and a romance for people who didn't like romance.