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The Skylight by Louise Candlish - Review

Monday, December 11, 2023

I got this Quick Reads book in a charity shop in Amble for just a pound when Lee and I were there over his birthday in August. I've enjoyed other books by Louise Candlish so thought I would give this a go. It's a novella, a short story really, and I picked it up after I made it through the slog that was Silas Marner. It was a very quick read and I really liked it! As with all short stories it left me wanting more, which I think is a mark of an excellent short story! 

Simone lives in the top half of a converted house, in a flat with two floors. Her boyfriend Jake has recently moved in with her. She has a secret - she's the only one allowed to use the top bathroom, and from there she can see the dining table of her downstairs neighbours because of the skylight in their extension. Jake has to use the shower room on the main floor so he doesn't know she can see into the skylight, and neither do the neighbours. And Simone absolutely HATES them.

They are a bit younger than her, and married, and successful, all of which are things which seem to trigger her. They are Alina and Gus and they are young professionals. They put the extension on which Simone didn't like, but now obsessed by what she can see. Simone hates Alina in particular, and starts stealing mail from the communal hall and other stuff like that, just to wind her up. 

Simone has a dark past - she only speaks to her cousin Paula from her family, and no one else. It's heavily hinted that she harmed someone when she was a child, but at the beginning the reader doesn't know what she did. Then she sees something through the skylight that sends her even more off the rails and she wants to get revenge, which has tragic consequences. I won't give spoilers but this is a twisty and delicious short story. I especially liked how it was told from Simone's point of view, as she's a very unreliable narrator. I'm giving this four out of five. 

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