THE COLD ROOM by Jeffrey Caine


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A highly versatile display of shuttered terror with unanswered questions lurking in the cold room--the room Carla Martin discovers sealed off behind hers in a filthy small hotel in East Berlin. Carla is taken there by her writer-father, a heavy type; she's a snotty, bright fifteen-year-old who could say, will you please ""autograph my nightmare."" Most of the time Martin is touristing around with Lil, young and pretty, while Carla is locked up by ""Frau Turnkey"" Holzbaum in her room with its rat droppings and taps behind the wall, behind the wardrobe. Resourceful ever, Carla gets through to find a scruffy, half-starved political prisoner, Karl. At first she attempts to make his habitat livable; gradually she confuses the present and the past, her father and Karl (which one raped her?), and her own identity as Carla now or Christa, an earlier counterpart. This crawlspace between two worlds is considerably brightened by Carla's sassy, sharp presence--a no-exit entertainment with possession adding that extra turn of the thumbscrew.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Knopf