Rose Baker seals men’s fates. With a few strokes of the keys that sit before her, she can send a person away for life in prison. A typist in a New York City Police Department precinct, Rose is like a high priestess. Confessions are her job. It is 1923, and while she may hear every detail about shootings, knifings, and murders, as soon as she leaves the interrogation room she is once again the weaker sex, best suited for filing and making coffee.
This is a new era for women, and New York is a confusing place for Rose. Gone are the Victorian standards of what is acceptable. All around her women bob their hair, they smoke, they go to speakeasies. Yet prudish Rose is stuck in the fading light of yesteryear, searching for the nurturing companionship that eluded her childhood. When glamorous Odalie, a new girl, joins the typing pool, despite her best intentions Rose falls under Odalie’s spell.
As the two women navigate between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night and their work at the station by day, Rose is drawn fully into Odalie’s high-stakes world. And soon her fascination with Odalie turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.
©2013 Suzanne Rindell (P)2013 Penguin Audio
Science writer in America's heartland
This is an excellent book, and it's hard to review without giving spoilers. It's a story about how crafty people can lead a double life by playing others for fools. But, even more, it's a story about how truly crafty people can actually fool themselves about the double life they are already living.
Gretchen Moll adds something special to the narration, not just because she's good at giving personality to the different characters, male and female (and she is). The TV characters she plays in Life on Mars and Boardwalk Empire inform her reading here, but her performance is different enough to keep things interesting.
In short, it's a great book, well-narrated. I highly recommend it, especially for book clubs, where readers will have a lot to discuss afterwards!
Since taking my first creative writing class in 2008 the pleasure I used to get from reading has been greatly reduced. I notice things I never noticed before. That said, I think I rate books pretty generously. Anyone who actually manages to write a whole book and then get it published deserves an extra star.
Rose Baker is a typist in a New York police station during the Prohibition era. She's alone in the world and starved for human connection. When the beautiful Odalie befriends her, Rose begins to experience the life she craves, but disapproves of. Lots of great plot twists keep the action moving. I won't spoil the end, except to say that the ambiguous conclusion is surprisingly satisfying. I'll be interested to see what Rindell comes up with for her next novel.
I really enjoyed this one ! I loved the Gatsbyesque setting and the fascinating first-person narrator. And I especially LOVED the ending ! Soooo unusual. Excellent reading by Gretchen Mol. Her almost emotionless dictation suits the character.
This Other Typist provides an interesting enough background of the 1920s era (complete with prohibition, the mood of the times, and great settings) but for me the actual story was contrived and hard to believe. Plus the naivete of the protagonist was ridiculous to the extreme.
I won't repeat what others have already written with respect to the theme and agree that, up front, the less you know about it the better. Probably my biggest complaint is with the narrator. Admittedly there are many run-on sentences within the text, but that alone isn't always a bad thing. However, the narrator lacked helpful pauses and read with so little inflection that even i felt out of breath by the time the full stop presented itself.
In my opinion it's probably best to forego the audio version of this book and maybe read it instead.
Interesting tale about 1920's Prohibition Era NYC. The story centers around two young women who work as typists in a police precinct. This was really intriguing novel that grabs your attention right from the start. Difficult to review since the book really should be read completely "blind" as the author intended. If you are planning on reading this one, do yourself a favor and don't read any reviews, etc. beyond what is written on the inside book jacket.
I enjoyed this book. Gretchen Mol's was very flat except when she spoke as characters other than the narrator. The ending was very disappointing. I would have liked a definitive answer to who was who. Was Rose all three characters, Genevra, Odialie and Rose.
I think it's unfair for the author to lead us through a story that had no conclusion.
It took a while for me to really get into this story, but once it had sucked me in I was completely entranced. The narrator was excellent and her voice was perfect for the characters and time period.
This is an evocative, fast-moving book about two women, one innocent and starry-eyed, the other hard-bitten and amoral, and the relationship they develop. We are drawn into Odalie's net with Rose, and learn about her as Rose does. Rose, however, doesn't guess whom she is dealing with until it is too late for her. I imagine that she just didn't want to face facts, and neither did I.
Gretchen Mol is a terrific reader. I'll look for more books she narrates.
The set-up (and it's almost all set-up) is decent. But the ending made me feel that if it weren't for the excellent audio performance I would have completely wasted my time.
Gretchen Mol's terrific job is the only real reason to listen to this.
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