Tuesday, August 21, 2012
REVIEW: Drowned, by Therese Bohman
If you're in the mood for a good, atmospheric, genuinely scary domestic mystery, you need to pick up Drowned, the debut thriller by Swedish editor and columnist Therese Bohman. Set in an idyllic countryside summer home in a tranquil wood where adders nonetheless slither through the grass, Drowned is the creep-out read of the summer.
Young Marina is visiting her older sister Stella and Stella's boyfriend at their country house filled with books, flowers, wonderful food and music. Stella is a horticulturalist who grows lovely orchids; Gabriel, the boyfriend, is older, a famous writer stalled on his current work. Here, Marina can let go of the worries of her own failed relationship and discontented career and indulge in a kind of fantasy life. But it soon becomes clear that Gabriel and his relationship with Stella are deeply flawed. A kind of closed-up, hothouse feeling takes over as Marina becomes sexually involved with the mercurial Gabriel. And tragedy strikes.
Drowned is a really quick read, deceptively so. Bohman writes incredibly descriptive, atmospheric prose; you can feel every sensation Marina feels, and yet at the same time she writes Marina's emotional life with detachment, almost blankness, as if to bring to life Marina's alienation and distance from the events going on around her. It's like she's sleepwalking through her life with Gabriel and Stella, or like she's underwater looking up at the surface and unable to understand what she's seeing. But we understand, little by little, the devastating scene unfolding.
If you liked things like Await Your Reply or Gone Girl, Drowned should be next on your list.
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.