Dystopian fatigue is real. It seems that every other novel today is set in some undetermined yet overdetermined future. The Girl at the Door, the first work by the Italian writer Raimo to be translated into English, freshens the genre a bit by setting it in a utopia ... The book makes vague mention of an international language, and as in many dystopian stories there are plenty of portentous, underexplained words in capital letters ... Readers have reason to believe that the professor is at the very least morally cloudy, but Raimo is clearly most interested in complicating our ideas about what it might mean to expunge, or even attempt to expunge, the worst impulses and elements from society.
... a nuanced examination of the politics of power in sexual relationships, and a novel that refuses to offer easy answers ... although she narrates half the novel, we never really learn how the girlfriend feels about the rape accusation. (We learn nothing, either, about the victim herself, who is given no voice after the initial scene) ... While The Girl at the Door is most obviously a book about the abuse of power in relationships, it is also a window onto an ailing, post-crisis generation ... A meditation on the sheer loneliness of contemporary society, Raimo’s novel is undoubtedly a story for our times.
Italian author Raimo’s English-language debut digs deep into a web of sex, scandal, and perception. Through the anonymity of her characters, Raimo beautifully portrays the effect language itself has on creating reality, and how labels can create doubt about the people and situations we think we know. In an age when the scandals of powerful and political figures are being exposed, this is both timely and merciless in its provocative presentation.
In a story reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter but with a more salacious vocabulary, emotional polarities abound while the accused expresses no remorse, only self-interest. Provocative reading for the brave.
Vanity Fair Italy calls The Girl at the Door 'the first post-Weinstein novel', and therefore conjures with a stroke certain potent narratives about power and coercion, gender, objectification and sexual violence. The novel, which is about a rape accusation in a utopian community, certainly explores all of the above, although with a conceptual complexity that rather drains the life out of the story ... This investigation commandeers the story, dwarfing the more interesting, human narratives ... unfortunately, Raimo concentrates too much on the world of Miden: a smug, bloodless place governed by rules, rankings and ideals that veers close to parody ... The translation from Italian doesn’t always cope well with the novel’s abstractness, either. Some sentences are not so much stumbling blocks as brick walls ... The Girl at the Door explores power, but it ultimately lacks potency.
... fanged, elliptical ... The novel deals in shifting sentiments: between love, revulsion, and desire; hostility toward and identification with the accuser; and between the couple’s ironic stance toward Miden’s stifling contentment and their intense yearning for inclusion in the community. A writer of wry and lucid prose, Raimo sculpts from these ambiguities a crystalline, powerful novel.