The Other Typist
June 22, 2013
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The Other Typist (B+) by Suzanne Rindell is by far one of the most unusual and perplexing books I’ve read.
Set in the roaring twenties, Rose, a typist in a NYC precinct, narrates the story. She is an orphan who was raised by nuns. Upon graduating from typing school, her first job is transcribing the confessions of varied heinous criminals. She considers herself a very moral person who is plain and demure in nature. She is unfazed by the confessions she documents.
When the need to hire another typist arises and Odalie is hired, Rose’s world drastically changes. From the very first moments, Rose finds herself inexplicably attracted to Odalie to the point of obsession. Odalie is a woman of suspicious means. Her life is shrouded in mystery; one that consumes Rose. Rose becomes like the fly drawn to the flame unable to stop herself from its danger.
The author intentionally mirrors scenes from The Great Gatsby her favorite novel. Speakeasies, prohibition and excessive living is the world that Odalie draws Rose into. Odalie lives a purposeful existence with a clear agenda. Odalie manipulates Rose very easily fitting her into the master plan.
Rose’s narration is delivered from the asylum she now inhabits. She has been told by her doctor to write chronologically in order to heal her mind. She often drifts and relates things out of order and then reminds us that she needs to be more orderly.
I would have to say that Rose’s story has left me dazed and confused. Rindell weaves quite a web. Rose is not the only one who has trouble sorting fact from fiction. This reader was troubled too. At the end, I had more questions than answers and suspect I, too, may have fallen victim to Odalie’s spell.
I encourage you to read The Other Typist with caution. It is deceptive, alluring and extremely compelling. I am anxious to discuss this with others who have read it.
I am haunted by suspicions and would appreciate some clarity and closure. Congratulations Suzanne Rindell, you have done an incredible job.