Drowned – Therese Bohman
This was a beautifully crafted novel. Separated into two parts it follows the story of two sisters, Stella and Marina, and their different relationships with Gabriel, Stella’s writer husband. Yet all is not as it seems – is it ever? This novel becomes a psychological look at the nature of power and desire. With the extreme popularity of Scandinavian crime writers over the past few years, I was interested to read a novel written by a Swedish author that didn’t involve the fast paced thrills of the likes of the Millennium trilogy. What I discovered was the level of description that brings these thrillers to life is what similarly makes novels such as this so enveloping.
Stella is a landscape gardener, and nature encompassed the entire novel, everywhere Marina looks there are plants, all adding to the atmosphere of the stifling summer, and then autumn that provides the setting. Similarly Gabriel, the man both women are so drawn to is ever present, suffusing the world these women inhabit. Gabriel is an enigma, the man Marina is desperate to figure out, to be consumed by. Bohman examines the nature of sexuality and attraction in her polished debut novel, along with the concept of guilt – which of these things is the most binding, causing the deepest connection, and how this connection can be broken. Ultimately this is the question Bohman is asking, once we are bound to someone, how is it possible to break that connection? This is a well written, easy read, recommended for lazy Sunday afternoons in summer.