Publication Date: Feb 23, 2016
List Price US $12.99
List Price US $15.95
Trim Size (H x W): 5.5 x 8.25
From the author of Drowned, a psychological novel where questions of class, status, and ambition loom over a young woman’s passionate love affair
She works at Norrköping Hospital, at the very bottom of the hierarchy: in the cafeteria, below the doctors, the nurses, and the nursing assistants. But she dreams of one day becoming a writer, of moving away and reinventing herself.
Carl Malmberg, an older, married doctor at the hospital, catches her eye. She begins an intense affair with him, though struggling with the knowledge that he may never be hers. At the same time, she realizes that their attraction to each other is governed by their differences in social status. As her doubts increase, the revelation of a secret no one could have predicted forces her to take her own destiny in hand.
Excerpt from The Other Woman
He is wearing dark blue jeans and a dark jacket, he looks very stylish. I realize I have never seen him in anything but his white hospital coat. Perhaps he is thinking the same about me, I speculate as I notice him glance at my boots, then up my legs.
“Finished for the day?” he says.
I nod. He smiles at me.
“I didn’t have time for lunch today. It was chicken, wasn’t it?”
Now we are both nodding.
“The chicken is usually pretty good,” he says.
He doesn’t seem to want to end the conversation. I can almost see him searching for something to talk about, ransacking his brain, his eyes darting from side to side. Eventually they settle on the electronic display inside the shelter.
“Which bus are you catching?” he asks.
His smile is warm, he doesn’t look anywhere near as stern as he sometimes does in the cafeteria, he has cute laughter lines around his eyes.
“The one one six,” I say.
“Twelve minutes…” he says.
“I just missed one.”
“Do you live in town?” he asks.
Vapor emerges from his mouth as he speaks, it must have got colder, below freezing after several mild, rainy weeks. His checked scarf is made of wool, in muted colors, it’s smart, all his clothes are smart.
“Yes, down by the theater.”
“In that case… I mean it’s on my way home, so I can give you a ride if you like.”
I knew he was going to ask me, I think. Maybe not just like this, but I knew something was going to happen. Something is going to happen now, that’s very clear. At last something is going to happen.
“Erotic and shrewd…[Therese Bohman’s] prose is breathtaking…An elegant, rich take on an age-old narrative.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Philosophical, passionate, and pensive—a novel that explores the psychology of both intimacy and lust.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The Other Woman hooks the reader with a captivating voice and a dramatic spin on a story we’ve all heard before…This captivating, character-driven tell-all provides the reader with a unique insight…And [Bohman’s] bashfully, charming leading lady keeps you hooked until the very last page.” —New York Daily News
“A mesmerizing page-turner.” —New York Journal of Books
“Bohman has crafted an intriguing, intelligent novel about the vagaries of female existence without sacrificing the character’s perspicacity or, indeed, the traits that make her an occasionally unlikeable character.” —Popmatters
“In an inspired twist, Bohman…tosses out a moral question that involves not just one of the two other women but both of them. [This] lifts Therese Bohman’s novel far above the typical story of female jealousy.” —Counterpunch
“An uncannily perfect, deceptively simple, deeply satisfying literary bulls-eye about sex, friendship, class, work, gentrification, ambition, and the self.” —Elisa Albert, author of After Birth
“The Other Woman is an utterly propulsive and intoxicating narrative of obsession, status, and social class. Therese Bohman’s honest, intelligent, comedic, and contradictory narrator is one I’ve been searching for in every novel I’ve read; I’m thrilled to have finally found her.” —Chloe Caldwell, author of Women
“I love to drink in the settings that Therese Bohman paints: the autumn fog, the moisture, the colorful burst of the leaves and the city dusk.” —Arbetarbladet
“Without a shadow of a doubt I would say that The Other Woman is a scathing, initiated, enthralling and, at the same time, very funny novel that defines a generation.” —Dagens Nyheter
“Therese Bohman forcefully revitalizes the most hackneyed clichés. It is extremely cleverly executed, and the novel also possesses a deeper attraction and energy, which makes it hard to resist. Therese Bohman consolidates her position as an author following the international success of her debut novel, Drowned. The Other Woman is a powerful, urgent, continuously alarming novel that highlights vital issues about the context of existence that touches and raises questions about the fundamental and crucial meanings that most of us want to find in our lives.” —Helsingborgs Dagblad
- How are the narrator’s imagination and aspirations shaped by her gender and class position? (See p 15, “I could spend hours planning what the wardrobe I hoped I would one day be able to afford would look like.”)
- The narrator describes Norrköping as “decaying” (p 43) and “tainted” (p 184). In what ways is she a product of the town she comes from? Does her journey over the course of the novel have any similarities with how she describes the town? Why do you think the narrator wants to leave Norrköping?
- What do you think of the narrator’s relationship with Carl Malmberg? Do you agree with her when she says “He isn’t interested in me just because I am younger than he is and he thinks I’m pretty…[but because] he thinks I’m smart, and that I’m capable of achieving things” (p 122)?
- The narrator says that she “had gone all the way through high school without really learning the skill of abstract thought” (p 11). Does her inexperience with abstract thought frame or anticipate her relationship with Carl Malmberg? She also says “I have never had a plan for my life” (p 11) and she rejects the “template” that exists for the conversations the women in her classes have (p 14). Does she succeed in forging any relationships that fall outside of the “template” or “construct” she criticizes?
- The narrator feels she stands outside of the “sisterhood” (p 28). Why does she feel so? What makes her so? Do you condemn her for her criticisms of feminism or identify with her?
- What do you think of how the narrator links beauty and an appreciation for “culture” to class? (See p 125, “Everything is so beautiful. Living like this must make you happy. This is what I want…Just imagine having enough money to choose the very best wine glasses.”)
- In what ways are the narrator and Alex similar? In what ways are her relationship to Alex and to Carl similar?
- The narrator often feels a sense of communion with Dostoevsky’s “man from underground” (p 194), but she also makes several references to film (p 60, “It’s kind of like in a film, he’s much older than me…”; p 67, “Secrets were what people had in films and on TV”; p 104, “I have fantasized about this, watched it play out before my eyes like a film”). Do you find her story to have more of a literary sensibility, or a cinematic one? Is her imagination shaped more by literature or by film?
- The narrator says she wants to write “not like a man, but like a woman who writes like a man” (p 27). What distinction is she making? In her narration, does she have the voice of, or speak like “a woman who writes like a man”?
- Do you think the narrator ends the novel on a note of triumph? If so, then in what way, and if not, then why not? Do you think she will ever become an author?