Girl in the Cellar

Girl in the Cellar
Allan Hall and Michael Leidig

The first book to appear on the Natascha Kampusch story in English, this is a quickie typical of the instant genre, with some decent background reporting but nothing from Kampusch herself (who was working on her own book at the time). Kampusch therefore remains a bit of a mystery, though her jailor for eight years, Wolfgang Priklopil, is an easily recognizable type. And I don’t mean that in a literary way, as a real-life Humbert Humbert, or epigone of Fowles’s disturbed Collector. Academia may not have a record of a criminal with Priklopil’s profile (as the authors here assert), but we know him well. He was a spoiled only son who couldn’t wait for his father to die so that he could inherit all his money, and his wife in the bargain. Upon that blessed day Mommy duly proceeded to dote on her adult baby and new life partner, cooking his meals, doing his laundry, cleaning his house. “Wolfgang is my everything,” is something she apparently “always said.” Naturally enough, Wolfi grew up thinking that all girls were sluts. His own choice of a helpmeet would be cut from more traditional cloth. In his own words: “I want a partner who will underestand when I want to be alone, who can cook well, is happy to be only a housewife, who looks good but does not consider looks important. I want a woman who will simply support me in everything I do.” Natascha could never measure up. Though she had cleaning duties, after every visit by Mrs. Priklopil she was released from her dungeon to find the house “spotless.” When Priklopil let Natascha wash his car (he was lazy as well as a miser) she decided it was time to run away. Abandoned, and realizing that even after eight years of captivity he hadn’t managed to train Natascha to the level of submission freely volunteered by his mom (who was old now, and depreciating as an asset), Wolfi decided to sulk away from life and throw himself in front of a train. Goodbye, cruel world! And good riddance to another psychopathic man baby, the boomer bane of the bourgeoisie.

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