The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
|The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
|Category: Literary Fiction
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: Stunning historical novel. Outstanding, a definite recommendation for all, particularly those with an interest in the Jazz Age. Suzanne Rindell popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
|Date: June 2013
|Publisher: Fig Tree
|External links: Author's website
The Other Typist is set in 1920s New York City, with Prohibition at its height and Rose Baker, an orphaned young woman, working as a police typist. While she has no real friends, she's good at her job and seems to have the respect of the Sergeant, whom she admires and the Lieutenant Detective, whom she's less keen on. Then a perfect storm comes into their lives, in the shape of the enchanting Odalie, and nothing will be the same again.
I've tried about sixteen different ways of describing this one, but any comparison I make - except perhaps for The Great Gatsby - clearly a major influence - seems to be too close to giving something away. I'd say this is one definitely best read with as little prior knowledge as possible, but it's an absolute must-read, being breathtakingly, stunningly wonderful. Rose is a completely beguiling narrator, Rindell breathes life into the 1920s - speakeasies, big parties, and all - and hits us with an ending that knocked me for six. I loved it. I loved the setting, I loved the characters, I loved the climax, and I loved the themes of identity, obsession, truth vs justice, and so many more. Most of all, though, I loved that it wears its literary influences - Gatsby in particular, but also others I won't mention because it's getting into spoiler territory - proudly, paying homage to some classic works.
As well, it's incredibly well-written. Rose's voice is gorgeous and it's paced perfectly, starting with a fairly languid, leisurely opening to draw us into her world before picking up to a shattering conclusion (have I mentioned yet that I really, really thought this book had a superb ending?)
Hugely recommended - most of the books I read and review these days are teen fiction; this is one of the few adult books that I'll be raving about to anyone and everyone this year.
While The Great Gatsby, as mentioned above, is still the ultimate Jazz Age book for me, I'm also thrilled by Jillian Larkin's Flappers series (starting with Vixen, a teenage trilogy which will definitely appeal to adults who love the time period.
If it's another stunning piece of literary fiction you're after, I can't recommend Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka highly enough. Like this book, it's beautifully written and has a compelling narrator.
Suzanne Rindell was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell at Amazon.com.
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell is in the Top Ten Literary Fiction Books of 2013.
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