Book Review: Ellen Ullman’s By Blood


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5 Stars

One of the best-told and most exciting books I have ever read!

As I’m writing this, I’m still under the effect of the shocking, brutal, unapologetic, hooking… ending of this book.

By Blood is about a college professor who fleas from scandal, goes to San Fransisco, rents an office there, only to find out that he could clearly hear whatever is going on in the adjacent office of a shrink, Dr. Schussler. He is particularly interested in one of the doctor’s patients, whose name is never revealed. This patient is adopted, and is attempting to uncover her mystical European origins. Little does she know, that a perfect stranger, lurking behind the thin walls of her therapist’s clinic, is going to change her life.

The twists and turns of the plot, uncovering the patient’s journey of self-discovery, are thrilling enough. However, Ellen doesn’t stop there as she uncovers the true nature of her protagonist — the lurker, the stalker… In spite of his acrimonious nature, Ellen makes us root for her protagonist; we want this dweller behind the walls to keep on spying on this person’s therapeutic sessions, because it’s helping him, and helping us…

The book is a thriller, a journey, a history lesson, a free therapy session, all amalgamated into one. A true page turner!

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