This is a story packed with millennial appeal. It takes in everything from the dangers of social media and urban alienation to infertility and mental health. Thirty-something Lexi is living with her boyfriend, Tom. They are struggling with infertility. Living next door is Harriet, a very unstable singleton songwriter who covets Lexi’s life and is prepared to go extreme lengths to disrupt it. The writing style will be a bit too chatty for some, but Corcoran maintains suspense throughout and she is brave enough not to opt for a fairytale ending. At times the number of themes she is juggling can be a little overwhelming, but she never loses control of the plot. This is a promising start from a new writer who clearly cares about the issues she tackles.
The chapters of Caroline Corcoran’s debut, Through the Wall, alternate between two women who live in adjacent flats in an upmarket London block. Lexie is a freelance writer desperately trying for a baby with her partner, Tom; Harriet is a composer recovering from a traumatic breakup with her fiance. Both neighbours eavesdrop through the wall that divides them, each envious of the perfect life they imagine the other is leading from what they have gleaned from the happy images they post on social media. When Lexie notices that things have gone missing from the flat and Tom is behaving strangely, she starts to realise that something sinister is afoot. This is a creepy indictment of how little many Londoners know about their neighbours – and also a moving, honest portrayal of the suffering felt by women affected by infertility.
Lexie and Harriet are neighbours, seperated by a thin wall in a trency Lodnon block of flats. They've never met, and each think the other one is leading a charmed life. But Harriet's fascination with Lexie soon turns to obsession, then hatred, and she sets her sights on Lexie's boyfriend, Tom, as the perfect way to make Lexie suffer. Not only a twisted thriller, Through The Wall also captures the loneliness of urban living and comparison culture.
There’s more high-rise hell in Through the Wall, a first novel from the journalist Caroline Corcoran. Lexie and Harriet are neighbours in a smart but poorly soundproofed London block. Lexie has gone freelance and is having carefully timed sex with partner Tom in an attempt to get pregnant. Increasingly isolated, she spends a lot of the day in pyjamas, listening out for Harriet, her glamorous, party-giving neighbour, and envying her. Meanwhile, Harriet, a blackout drinker with no real friends, obsesses over Lexie, whose life she believes to be perfect, thanks to Lexie’s carefully curated online persona. The pair pass the narrative baton between them for a largely successful foray into Girl on the Train territory, replete with jealousy, stalking, gaslighting and control-freakery, although habitual readers of psychological thrillers may find the reveal, when it comes, to be something of a let-down.