One of The Globe and Mail’s “Favourite Books of the Year”
The closer she gets to the truth, the faster it slips away.
In the spring of 1945, fifteen year-old Heike circles in the mountains high above Switzerland. Pushed out the door by a worried mother, Heike and her little sister, Lena, have escaped Dresden only days ahead of the firebombs that will destroy that city, to cross a war-torn Germany on their own. But now, Lena is lost and Heike is alone, stalked by a feral dog.
Eleven years later, Heike’s life looks very different: married to a prominent American psychiatrist, she’s living in idyllic upstate New York, where she’s free to wander the woods and care for her beloved four-year old son, Daniel. But despite the shiny veneer of this new life, Heike cannot shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong. On the sunniest day of the year, she’s relaxing by a pond with Daniel when a strange little girl appears out of nowhere—then eerily disappears below the surface of the water. From that moment on, nothing is ever the same again. Is the girl a ghost, or an omen of bad things to come? The closer Heike gets to the truth, the faster it slips away.
“In Hysteria, Elisabeth de Mariaffi has crafted an epic and haunting story that manages to be both rich in character and setting and breakneck in pace. You will find yourself thinking about it long after you’ve turned the last pages.”
“Hysteria is shout-out-from-the-rooftops good. It is unpredictable, laced with evil and mystery, and impossible to put down. A horrifying modern-day fairy tale, Hysteria is finely written, haunting in its construction, and compelling from the first page to the last.”
“The story moves at a breakneck pace. . . . Hysteria not only provides the thrills of a suspenseful, disturbing read. On a deeper level, the novel highlights the manipulation, coercion, and abuse of women, that sadly, remains an urgent issue today.”
“…a fast-paced thrill ride with an intriguing premise and twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.”
“Hysteria is a creepy, at times terrifying, thrill ride—taut and smart, and totally unpredictable.”
“Hysteria is a powerful piece of fictional misdirection, of establishing readerly expectations and upending them, repeatedly, to tremendous effect. It is at once thought-provoking, tautly suspenseful and genuinely surprising.”
“The sharp and extraordinary quality of the novel comes from its taut pacing, precise detail, hallucinatory narration, and the metaphysical guessing game the reader is enticed into playing. . . . What is real? Who can we trust?”