Mystery/Thriller

The Cellar by Minette Walters

Sometimes, when I have been waiting for a long time to read a book, I forget what got me interested in it in the first place. That’s exactly what happened with this novel: I had so much else going on what with finals season and applications that I completely forgot about this novel. And when I got my hands on it, I found myself too lazy to check what it was about. I just dove right into the story. So let me tell you a little bit about my experience…

Muna lives in a dark, windowless cellar, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Songoli. She is a slave to the family, and is made to cook, clean, and allow the family to do whatever they want with her. She has never been outside of the home, has never learned to read or write, and has no knowledge of the English language. The Songoli family is happy to keep her this way. But everything changes when their younger son fails to come home from school. Now that the police are around investigating his disappearance, they cannot keep Muna locked up anymore. And with her new-found freedom, she may soon become their worst nightmare.

I am not easy to scare, especially when it comes to novels. I don’t get rattled easily and there are only a few times that a book has made me feel unnerved to the point where I feel like I can’t sleep at night. This was one of those novels. The story is told through Muna’s voice and although she uses simple language and sentence structure, they carry a great deal of power. The way in which this girl thinks, even with her lack of knowledge on how the outside world works, is terrifyingly fascinating; she is incredibly smart yet conceals it through this semblance of naivety. As the novel progressed, my heart rate just kept increasing and when I reached the final page, I found myself in a state of shock over how everything led up to this final point. This novel was short yet it delivered so much….even now, I am speechless. I think this novel has actually knocked Gone Girl off of its position of Best Thriller – at least, in my mind! If you haven’t checked this novel out, then please do! It is one of the best short thriller novels that I have ever read and will definitely give you a worthwhile experience!

0 thoughts on “The Cellar by Minette Walters

  1. I happen to particularly love these types of novels, where the protagonist is smart, unconventional and the anti-hero. It makes for a particularly interesting read, because the amount of strategy requires us as readers to push our own minds to understand what is going on and try to predict what will happen. Muna is brilliant — enough said — and her sheer lack of emotion (for the most part anyway) as she speaks and thinks through her (often) diabolical plans is eerily sublime. The simple writing style enhances the eeriness even further and makes what is a sophisticated plot that requires a lot of thinking very simple to understand. The ending will also catch you off-guard with its unconventional nature, and I found myself puzzled trying to figure out what it meant. There are many other things that I will leave unsaid about this novel (in the hopes that you will read it too! :), but as readers you can rest assured that all of them are praises.

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