Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

They said the typewriter would unsex us.

This is what one may consider a writer's opening line. It is a striking statement that is successful at doing what it is designed to do: attract attention. Anyone at a bookstore who comes across this book accidentally, and opens this to the first page and reads this line will most likely want to read the next and then the next until they find themselves wandering towards the cashier book in hand.

This line doesn't necessarily foreshadow a any particular conflict per say, but rather hints at the premise as the next paragraph explains:

One look at the device itself and you might understand how they - the self-appointed keepers of female virtue and morality, that is - might have reached such a conclusion.

I don't much like the POV switch, but that is my little pet peeve I've yet to come to terms with. This paragraph ends with:

Add to that the sheer violence of its iron arms, thwacking away at the page with unforgiving force. Unforgiving. Yes; forgiving is not the typewriter's duty.

One can't help think that the typewriter is a symbol for something. I'll let you to figure out what. The next paragrpah begins:

I don't suppose I know much about the business of forgiveness, either, as my job has so much to do with the other end of it. Confessions, I mean.

She works for the police and writes out reports on rape, robbery or whatever. Not things a lady was in the habit of being privy to in 1924.

There is more telling about the the life (back story and establishing character motivation) of the narrator and a return to the typewriter unsexing people until finally we come to a scene on page 8 and some dialogue.

First thing said:

"I'm not a ninny, you know."

I like the premise for this and the fact it is revealed early: a secretary to the police. I'm still not sure if this is a mystery or what (I don't read blurbs as they might affect the review process. I have this fear this is a romance or a combination of one with a mystery, but I will read on, as the beginning has pulled me in. Perhaps the time period has something to do with it, you know, the roaring twenties and all.

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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