People at the Room Book Cover
Norah Lange

People in the Room

Shortlisted for the 2019 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

Runner-up in the 2019 Translators Association First Translation Prize

Longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award


A classic – an uncanny exploration of desire, domestic space, isolation, and voyeurism by a writer Borges loved — only now in English translation

A young woman in Buenos Aires spies three women in the house across the street from her family’s home. Intrigued, she begins to watch them. She imagines them as accomplices to an unknown crime, as troubled spinsters contemplating suicide, or as players in an affair with dark and mysterious consequences.

Lange’s imaginative excesses and almost hallucinatory images make this uncanny exploration of desire, domestic space, voyeurism and female isolation a twentieth century masterpiece. Too long viewed as Borges’s muse, Lange is today recognized in the Spanish-speaking world as a great writer and is here translated into English for the first time, to be read alongside Virginia Woolf, Clarice Lispector and Marguerite Duras.

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More Info

  • With an Afterword by César Aira.
  • Read The Guardian‘s profile of Norah Lange.
  • Runner-up in the 2019 TA First Translation Prize.
  • Shortlisted for the Warwick Women in Translation Prize.
  • Longlisted for the Best Translated Book Awards 2019.
  • You can read an interview on Electric Lit, with translator Charlotte Whittle, who talks about how she first came across Norah Lange’s work, here.
  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before 12 February 2018, you would have received a first edition copy of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
Print status: Available
Author: Norah Lange
Translator: Charlotte Whittle
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 9 August 2018
ISBN: 9781911508229
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508236
Availability: World
Number of pages: 176


The Guardian

‘The first English translation of a 1950 work by the groundbreaking Argentinian author is darkly irresistible ... Combining painterly qualities with poetic imagery, Lange’s prose is rich in metaphor'

Lee Langley
The Spectator

‘Hallucinatory and unsettling, the prose vibrates like a high-tension wire . . . the brilliance of the language, and the shifting perspectives transform what at first seems banal into something mesmerising and tragic . . . a picture of suffocating isolation and voyeurism, Hitchcock without a murder.’

Samanta Schweblin

‘Intimate and vital … this is an exquisite novel, full of light, shadows, and profound revelations.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘A beautiful and mesmerizing modernist experiment . . . The writing is crisp and direct, in stark contrast to the intricate psychological darkness the narrator inhabits, and it leaves the reader questioning every detail. Unsettling and masterful, this short but dense novel should entice fans of literary giants like Virginia Woolf and Clarice Lispector.’

Booklist Online

'Short, poetic, and alluring . . . Readers who like unreliable protagonists and enjoy being kept on their toes will be up for the challenge.'

Christine Schutt

‘Female experience in all its isolate weirdness as narrated by a voyeuristic woman with a sensuous sensibility. I want to trust this woman but I don’t, which makes People in the Room all the scarier.’

César Aira

‘Deathly scenes from a wax museum come to life, in a closed, feminine world.’

Idra Novey

PEOPLE IN THE ROOM brings to mind the alluring uncertainty of Shirley Jackson's Hangsaman, the imaginative intensity of adolescence transformed into masterful fiction.’

Laurie Greer

'Lange deftly updates a classic fairy tale motif into this cryptic, telling, spellbinding piece of modernist writing.'

Carlos Labbé

‘With her singular, powerful voice and her radical turnings of the screw of detective fiction, Lange joins a wave of classic women writers including Clarice Lispector and Leonora Carrington whose rediscovery has altered the terrain of Latin American literature.’

Delfina Muschietti

‘Lange breaks the canon that was suffocating women writers at the beginning of the twentieth century.’

El Cultural

‘Only the dominant machismo of her era meant that Norah Lange was usually noted more for her Norwegian beauty than for her stature as a great writer. In People in the Room, Lange’s intensity and clarity are reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s finest moments in Mrs Dalloway.’