3 of 9
By Melanie Joosten
256 pages; Scribe Publications

In Berlin Syndrome, opening May 26, Clare is a young Australian photographer visiting Berlin and hoping to find herself. Instead, she has the bad luck of finding Andi, a seemingly charming local who keeps her at his place for a night—and then keeps on keeping her, locking the doors and windows and refusing to set her free. Onscreen, the film is designed as a heart-pounding captivity narrative, with Andi as the hard-eyed sociopath, and Joosten's 2011 debut novel takes a similar approach. However, by alternating the narrative between Clare and Andi's heads, we get a dense and harrowing interior portrait of both of their motivations, from family drama to German political upheaval, underscoring her submission and his descent into madness.