Stella lives in a top floor fat with her partner, Ivan, and her cat George. She works from home as an aromatherapist and her life is perfectly ordered. Her rucksack stands by the door, regularly inventoried and always ready for a quick getaway, but Stella never goes out. She can’t – she is agoraphobic.
Everything is ordered and controlled – by routines, by rituals, by essential oils – but then one thing falls out of place.
Ivan starts to wear gold bracelet that Stella has never seen before, inscribed with his name and “True love forever over every single rainbow XXX S L 1978”. Stella and her sister Skye both have the initials S L, but these initials belong to somebody else.
Stella soon becomes obsessed with the old girlfriend who left Ivan behind. Is she coming back? Why has Ivan’s behaviour changed? Why has he hidden money in Stella’s rucksack? What is going on?
Slowly everything falls apart – even George starts to favour the new neighbours’ flat over his own home – and Stella eventually loses control of the small world that she has created.
Yellow’s first person narrative is intense, gripping and frequently disturbing.
Small revelations and details slowly build a picture, and love, deception, paranoia, panic, obsessive behavior are all strikingly portrayed.
Janni Visman succeeds in putting her readers inside the head of a disturbed, but rational, woman.
And her story builds to a startling conclusion.
I was both impressed and unsettled by Yellow.