‘Watch Her Fall’ by Erin Kelly – review with spoilers

With the premiere of ‘Black Swan’ by Arran Aronofsky, the ballet underwent its revival. Many ballet schools becoming more and more prominent. ‘Watch Her Fall’ is not on the big screen, but it is equally enticing. 

It is not just another gripping psychological suspense from the author of ‘She said, he said,’ but a masterpiece. Erin Kelly said that the inspiration for the novel was to write a book where the protagonist is confined to her apartment. She had previously wanted to write about agoraphobia, but with the successful release of A.J. Finn ‘The woman in the window’, she gave up on the idea. 

In her Waterstones interview, she said that these very scenes where the protagonist cannot leave the house and develops a relationship with a security guard were the foundation of the story, but she is aware that this might be the part that many readers wish to skip. 

Erin Kelly was very concerned about the likeability of her characters. However, I think this worry is totally unfounded. Although Ava Kirilovais a perfectionist and gets once snappy to her fellow ballerina, she is very compassionate, especially about her father’s health and future partner, Roman. Ava also suffers from delusions which make the reader instantly fall for her.

Even Roman, who is also a baddy in this novel, is created into a likeable character. This was achieved by adding some background information about this character which encourages us to invest in him. He lost his family in Ukraine and was considered a ‘cockroach’ by people in the UK, despite his education to a degree level. 

Of course, certain ballerinas and other baddies are created in a way that it would be very difficult to empathise with them. But there is very common for a writer to create some less likeable characters. I think the only book that I could feel for every character and even those that I didn’t feel I would feel for was ‘Honey Dew’ by Louise Doughty. 

Nevertheless, Erin Kelly is a master in creating different viewpoints and very complex plot structures. In ‘Watch Her Fall’, we have Ava/Juliet, Roman, Nikolai Kirilov, Lizanne and Ian Bayer as storytellers. To have that huge number of character and viewpoints, it really needs the talent of Erin Kelly to make them sound distinct and coherent, without undue repetition. She does not only this, but she ends each section with a cliff-hanger that culminate later into various twists and revelations. 

The ending is sad but satisfactory, which is standard in the genre. The evil is unaccounted for, as Lizanne, who caused Juliet’s injury, is promoted to be a prima ballerina, and the murder of Katya is brushed under the carpet. Nevertheless, it clear that the murder was created in self-defence and uncovering all the incidents of this murder would be catastrophic for Roman, who is Ava’s love interest. Furthermore, Lizanne, whose crime has never been uncovered, played a huge role in concealing the murder. We have a promise of a happy life for Juliet and Roman.

Finally, the London Russian Company is changed for the better under the guidance of Juliet and Roman. No more money laundering and paying ballerinas in cash. ‘Swan Lake’ is reinterpreted, and I think this new adaptation can have a symbolic meaning in the story.