Other People’s Clothes: A Novel
Calla Henkel’s latest novel, Other People’s Clothes, has all the right ingredients to serve up a delicious literary treat, but unfortunately the bake is inconsistent and while some elements of the book are so beautifully written you want to savor each word, other elements are too much and too little at the same time.
Zoe, an outcast, latches on to popular Hailey when the two end up in Berlin to study art for a year abroad through their college. They are complete opposites, but while they forge a kind of friendship, there is resentment at the heart of it. They embark on wild nights of drinking too much, taking drugs, hooking up with strangers, and generally behaving like most late teens/early twenty somethings, but there is little to develop the story line. Without giving away too much, something dark and terrible happens to one of the girls and the other spends way too much time trying to unravel it.
Henkel’s prose is beautiful, though, which is part of the letdown of the novel. She has a great ear for dialogue and eye for specific, vivid detail—particularly in terms of architecture—that gives flavor and spark to the book, but the story is ultimately unsatisfying. Henkel has a foothold in the art world as a director and artist and one has to wonder if she should stick to those performative mediums rather than venturing into the world of writing.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller