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Drowned Paperback – May 22, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A slim novel with a taut narrative line and a sense of impending disaster....A tale of identity and tense personal relationships, one that as a film property would have appealed to Hitchcock or de Palma." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The seasonal and structural changes are deliberately understated and carry emotional weight into the climax, which Bohman deftly makes both foregone and suspenseful, leaving the reader wondering if everyone was doomed from the start.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“A horrifyingly compelling psychological thriller set in modern-day Sweden…Bohman manages to flesh out characters, setting, and plot in just over 200 pages, a feat that makes for a highly engaging and fast-paced read, yet one with great depth.” —Booklist

“[Bohman] writes with simplicity and restrain, and each detail adds to the slowly building tension…This is an artful psychological thriller, and utterly riveting, as it delves into the dark side of lust, sex and obsession.” —Herald Sun (Australia)

“Therese Bohman’s Drowned is a flawless story written in razor sharp prose, and is extremely hard to put down.” –Coffin Factory

Drowned puts both its protagonist and its reader on edge almost from the beginning and never really allows either to become settled or comfortable. It's an effective, suspenseful psychological mystery.” –Shelf Awareness

“Action is absent, as are bold, aggressive female heroes. No politics, at least overtly, either. Just a wholly controlled, absorbing account of inexplicable female passivity in the 21st century, a condition that seems to affect certain twenty-somethings of Sweden as much as it does those in New York, if the TV show Girls is any indication…The translation, by Marlaine Delargy, is supple and effective and frequently mesmerizing.” –Reviewing the Evidence

“Most thrillers conclude by exposing a killer. Drowned, on the other hand, ends with a larger, more upsetting truth: how we expose ourselves…Author Therese Bohman could be lumped in with the other Scandinavian authors who have taken over the mystery world since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but her story is more quiet and nuanced, her writing lush enough to create a landscape painting with every scene. No shoot-outs, showdowns or explosions end this story, but be prepared to gasp all the same, not with fear, but with understanding.” –Oprah

About the Author

Therese Bohman is an editor of the magazine Axess and a columnist for Expressen and Tidningen Vi, writing about literature, art, culture, and fashion. She lives in Sweden.
 
Marlaine Delargy has translated novels by Åsa Larsson and Johan Theorin, as well as The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (Other Press), and serves on the editorial board of the Swedish Book Review. She lives in England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press; Tra edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590515242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590515242
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,582,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Therese Bohman is an editor of the magazine Axess and a columnist for Expressen and Tidningen Vi, writing about literature, art, culture, and fashion. She lives in Sweden.

Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm amazed to find a work of Scandinavian fiction in which the characters aren't endlessly complaining about how depressed they become during the long, frigid winters. In the first half of Drowned, the characters complain about how depressed they have become during the unusually hot summer. Part two takes place in the fall and the characters complain that the rain and rotting leaves have created "a state of torpor." It seems that an unremitting feeling of depression is a consistent feature of Scandinavian fiction, no matter what the season might be.

Marina, an art history student in Stockholm, takes a train to the country to visit her sister Stella, who is living with an older man, a novelist named Gabriel. Unsurprisingly, something develops between Marina and Gabriel. Much of the story (written in the first person from Marina's perspective) takes place inside Marina's head as she ponders the meaning behind the brief kiss Gabriel gave her, her life-long jealousy and resentment of Stella, and her relationship with her absent boyfriend. One external event becomes significant: a burn mark on Stella's inner thigh that she can't adequately explain.

Things have changed by November, including Marina's relationship with Gabriel, when the novel's second half opens with Marina's return to the country. I won't reveal the plot-altering event that leads to the second visit for the sake of not spoiling it, although it is something the reader will probably anticipate long before it happens. Mild tension develops as the reader wonders how that event came to pass.

Some of its promotional blurbs describe Drowned as a thriller. Readers who come to the novel expecting it to thrill are likely to be disappointed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lily @ Bookluvrs Haven on June 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
** SPOILER ALERT **

I want to warn you all ahead of time. There will be lots of spoilers in this review, so be forewarned... I try never to include spoilers in my reviews, but in order to really express why I feel the way I do about this novel, I will have to be fairly detailed.

For those of you that decided to proceed ahead:

I am so conflicted with this novel. As I began this story I thought that this would be an easy 4 star review. I was gripped from the beginning. It started out mellow, and really interesting. The relationship between these two sisters was terribly awkward and perplexing, and once I realized that there was a connection between Marina and her sister's husband, I rubbed my hands in anticipation and thought, "Here we go! Dramarama!!!"

And yes, I got some drama. Marina has a quickie affair with her bro-in-law which I expected. What I didn't expect was the lack of emotion surrounding it. I figure that someone who just slept with her sister's husband would feel somewhat guilty and even more awkward around her sister, and yet, the story continued on uneventfully. There were some very subtle hints that there was something dark surrounding Gabriel, but with the exception of a couple of swear words and outbursts... it was really anti climatic, and uneventful.

Second part of this novel - where it falls apart for me.

Marina returns to her sister's house after a few months after her sister's drowning to pack up and organize her things? I am never really sure if that is her purpose for returning as she then apparently states she is now living there with Gabriel to the neighbors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Kennedy on June 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I picked up this novel after reading rather glowing reviews in the Swedish Book Review and Publishers Weekly. I have to say that I do not see the hype as being justified. Aside from a lyrical descriptive slant used to good effect at times by the author, I did not really like the novel. The story was predictable, and I saw no sign of the suspense or multi-layered plot that the reviews described. There are plenty of good novels out there...I recommend reading one of them instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
In Therese Bohman's "Drowned," translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy, Marina visits her older sister, Stella, in Skåne, Sweden. Marina and her boyfriend have not been on good terms of late, and she has fallen behind in her art history assignments. If she fails to catch up during the coming weeks, her academic standing will suffer. Although she is enervated by the oppressive weather--"The heat hits me like a wall." "My whole body feels listless."--Marina is happy to see Stella after many months apart. Gabriel, a writer, is Stella's older lover who lives with her in his grandparents' old house. "There are plants growing everywhere, in pots and beds, clambering over walls and trellises, spreading across the ground." Stella, an expert gardener, is employed by the local council. "It's her job to decide would flowers should be planted in which containers around the town."

What should have been a pleasant and relaxing vacation soon becomes something dark and forbidding. Marina senses an underlying tension between Stella and Gabriel, but initially dismisses her worries as the product of an overactive imagination. Against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to Gabriel. Will Marina betray her sister or will she prudently make an excuse to return home?

Eventually, a tragic event will shake Marina to the core. How she reacts to her suspicions is at the core of this slim novel. Bohman plumbs the dark recesses of her protagonists' psyches and, in the final pages, the tension becomes excruciating and the atmosphere ever more oppressive. "Drowned" is, at times, a little too heavy-handed, since Bohman is none too subtle in the way she foreshadows the trouble to come. Nevertheless, this is a compelling psychological thriller that is enhanced by Bohman's vivid figurative language and her provocative insight into obsession, duplicity, and twisted desire.
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