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Decompression by Juli Zeh

Decompression (2012)

by Juli Zeh

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1401485,666 (3.56)5



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Juli Zeh’s powerful psychodrama combines the serene rapture of the underwater environment with the claustrophobic collapse of identity under pressure. It’s unpredictable, offbeat and edgy; unsettling and almost incidentally erotic.

Self-centred Sven the diving instructor has held himself at a distance from everyone in his adult life. He’s abandoned a career in the law; shuns his homeland, sneers at his countrymen and barely commits the time of day to his long-term relationship with a woman who has loved him since she was a child.

Enter Jola, a physically compelling but emotionally insecure magnetic young actress, whose sexual manipulations and emotional machinations destroy Sven’s defences and leave him frighteningly vulnerable. Jola wields her sexuality and her vulnerability as potent weapons, goading her partner Theo at one moment and seeking his support the next. They are like the couple from hell at a dinner party, constantly sniping at each other, and ensnaring any unwary bystanders in their escalating conflict. The violence threatens to tip from verbal to physical at any moment – and inevitably, blood will be spilled…

More detail about this book on the Murder Mayhem blog here:

Intelligent and absorbing, Decompression is easily Juli Zeh’s most accessible novel to date. It’s nothing like as weird as her earlier novel, Dark Matter (which I also adored), but still strays far from the path of the typical action-adventure crime-thriller.

( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
In Decompression by Juli Zeh, Sven and his girlfriend, who left Germany years ago, have a deep sea diving business on the island of Lanzarote. They cater to the tourists who come to visit. When two new customers, German tourists, show up, Sven finds himself attracted to the woman, Jola von der Pahlen, an actress on a soap opera. Her older boyfriend, Theo Hast, is a writer who feels he is superior to everyone around him.

The story is told from Sven's point of view and through Jola's diary entries. Clearly there is a cat and mouse game going on, but no one seems to know the reason behind it or how high the stakes are going to go. Although it does have a few elements of a psychological thriller, this is more of a character study of jealousy and lies with some abuse thrown into the mix.

Decompression by Juli Zeh is a so-so novel for me. While it is well written, I think it may have lost some of the flow of the original German. But even more than that, I detested every single loathsome character in this book, which made it hard to care what happened to them, no matter how intriguing the set up or exotic the local.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday for review purposes. ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Begon vrij veelbelovend. Frisse oneliners, maar al snel begon het mij te vervelen: geen van de personages boeide mij genoeg om het boek uit te lezen. waarmee bevestigd is dat mijn voorkeur uitgaat naar boeken die niet alleen op het psychologische focussen. ( )
  chrisgalle | Mar 5, 2015 |
This is not going to be a long review. To be honest, it's been two months since I read DECOMPRESSION by Juli Zeh and the most excitement I can gather when I think of it is a mild, distracted, "meh." That sounds really bad, but I was so taken in by the interesting cover and the synopsis and setting (The Canary Islands!) that I couldn't help but imagine something exciting and thrilling. What I got, instead, was something that made me feel slightly dirty and more than a little frustrated that I spent so much of my valuable free time trying to muddle through the whole thing.

Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on August 18, 2014. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Jul 26, 2014 |
I am glad I did not read previous reviews for this book. I loved it. I just knew somebody was going to die, but I could not figure out which character. The tropical isle setting is so enticing. I would love to leave my life behind and find a an uncluttered beach life. The allure of the diving school, albeit with a sinister element of undersea danger, puts me on edge. My sensors are tingling as the mismatched German couple arrives for lessons. The almost has-been soap star and the writer whose muse has left him, publicly abuse each other and set up the dive instructor. He is such a sap for her beauty and sexual overtones. I really thought one of them would kill him. The person with the most undetected secret when it all plays out, however, is the instructor's girlfriend. I was cheering, good for her! The author gives us suspense, intrigue, dishonesty, mental unbalance, graphic sex, and an unexpected ending. That's enough for a good read for me. I can see this brought to the screen too. The visual component is strong. I highly recommend this read. My thanks to Goodreads and the author for a complimentary copy. ( )
  musichick52 | Jun 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Juli Zehprimary authorall editionscalculated
Keteleer, HildeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lund, HanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"An explosive thriller about two couples who are caught in a web of conflicting passions while deep-sea diving off the beautiful Canary Islands; Sven Fiedler is a young lawyer in Germany who decides he's had enough. No more competing with coworkers for his boss's attention, no more flaunting this or that new purchase to keep his friends impressed, no more endless workweeks under fluourescent lights. So he withdraws from the bustle of modern life to the island of Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, where he and his girlfriend, Antje, establish a simpler routine. Sven sets up a business as a deep-sea diving instructor while Antje has her own real estate agency, and the two happily cater to tourists who come to bask in the warm sunshine and explore the silent, gleaming marine paradise that makes this island such a remarkable retreat. In November of 2011, two German tourists, Jola von der Pahlen and Theo Hast, engage Sven for an expensive two-week intensive diving experience. They stay in a guest house on Sven and Antje's property, and the two couples quickly become entangled in a mess of jealousies and suspicions. Sven is struck by Jola's beauty and her evident wealth. Theo quickly leaps to the conclusion that Sven and Jola are conspiring against him, but oddly, he seems to facilitate their affair rather than trying to stop it. Antje, looking on, grows increasingly wary of these particular clients. Shifting through various points of view, the reader is constantly kept guessing about who knows what, and more important, who is telling the truth. As the tension builds, it becomes increasingly clear that someone will meet a violent end, but a quiet one, down in the underwater world beneath the waves"--… (more)

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