Drowned
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Drowned

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2.82 of 5 stars 2.82  ·  rating details  ·  556 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Drowned, set in the idyllic countryside during a short-lived Swedish summer, gets under one’s skin from the first page, creating an atmosphere of foreboding in which even the perfume of freshly picked vegetables roasting in the kitchen becomes ominous.
On the surface, the story couldn’t be simpler. A single young woman visits her older sister, who is married to a writer as...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Other Press (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Nicole
More of my reviews are at: Paperback Princess

I really wish I hadn't read this book. It did absolutely nothing for me. In attempting to create mystery Bohman only created confusion. Perhaps it was just my version, but there was never any break for a new chapter or even those page break things that indicate that you're moving to a new time or scene. I always felt confused because one minute something big was about to happen and then the next, they were having dinner.


The ending also resolves absolu...more
Cynthia
Ophelia?

The first half of this book rather languishes but the second part picks up as the mystery deepens though it ultimately disappoints. If you have feminist leanings you’ll hate this book. It’s set in the Swedish countryside where Marina, a college student, goes to visit her botanist sister, Stella, who is living with her much older, author husband who’s named Gabriel. Stella loves plants and her job in a nearby city planning office keeps her away from home for long hours. Marina arrives for...more
Lily
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hayley
Therese Bohman worked as a literary critic for a number of years before penning her own novel and so I imagine she was particularly conscious of publishing's favourite catchcry, "show, don't tell". This cardinal rule explains how an author should show through a character's experience that, for example, it was cold, rather than simply saying, "it was cold". But the opposite is also true, in that too much of this description / exposition can become exhausting for the reader who simply wants the st...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Drowned by Therese Bohman is a literary novel and atmospheric psychological thriller. As the description says, the basic story in is deceptively simple. A young woman from Stockholm, Marina, visits her older sister, Stella. Stella, a horticulturist, lives in the countryside with Gabriel, a charismatic older man who is a writer. Marina finds herself attracted to Gabriel, but also seems to sense something dark and surreal about her sister's seemingly idyllic life. The novel itself is much more com...more
Kristin
I could easily have read this in one sitting if I didn't have to contend with the length of my lunch break and the necessity of attending my book club! As it is, I read it in 3 sittings. The reason I didn't want to put it down is that the writing is so... beautiful? Engaging? Powerful? Enticing? I'm not quite sure what to call it. The descriptions were phenomenal, and I felt like I really was in this isolated farmhouse, first in the stifling heat of summer and then in the dripping chill of late...more
Magenta Sheridan
After reading this book I simply put it down and walked away. A few days later it hit me: nothing 'gripping', 'haunt[ing]' or 'disturb[ing]' (as described on the front cover by Emily Maguire) actually happened in this book, and that is why I found it rather empty and a little disappointing.

Upon beginning to read I found it detailed and rich in imagery, a quality I usually enjoy in novels, yet as I continued this exact trait became the book's downfall. So heavy in description it lacked in storyli...more
Laura
Although this novel involved some of my favorite things (botany; Pre-Raphaelite art; tall, dark, handsome men), it wasn't everything that I hoped it would be. I found some of the foreshadowing to be a bit clunky, and was also irked by some glaring historical inaccuracies relating to the Pre-Raphaelities (at one point, it's claimed that Elizabeth Siddal died of pneumonia after modelling for Millais' Ophelia; in fact, she died of a laudanum overdose a whole ten years after Ophelia was painted). I...more
Naomi
Synopsis: Marina visits her sister, Stella and while there falls under the spell of Stella's violent, sadistic and manipulative husband, Gabriel. Tragedy strikes and Stella dies. What are in Stella's diaries and will Marina fall victim to Gabriel's manipulative ways the same way her sister did?

My opinion: I really could not wrap my head around this book. I found it has taken me a few days to even write the review. I found it simplistic in its' writing and was scratching my head at the end of it....more
Angel
Don't waste your time like I did.

This book was a huge disappointment. Because it was short in length, I stuck to my guns and finished it even though I should have stopped when I became irritated by the lack of breaks. Part One and Part Two. Everything else just a jumble of nothing.

Too much fancy prose and no storyline to back it up.

I very rarely have given a book only a one star rating. I wanted to like this, but the characters were so undeveloped and the ending was so disappointing I felt cheat...more
Wendy
A simply written, somewhat chilling novel, Drowned left me wanting more.

The story is told through the perspective of Marina, a university student on summer break who is visiting her sister, Stella, and Stella's older husband Gabriel. During her summer visit, Marina has time to reflect on her relationship with her sister and forges a relationship beyond her control with Gabriel. When she returns in the fall things have changed drastically and she finds that all is not as it seems and secrets can...more
Maddy
SETTING: Sweden
RATING: 2.75

There are times in our lives when we know we need to shake things up and do something to change the way things are going. For Martina, the impetus is her involvement in a relationship that is falling apart and the fact that she has little motivation to do well in her academic endeavors. She decides to leave Stockholm for a while and visit her sister, Stella, who lives with her significant other, Gabriel, in the Swedish countryside. Stella is deeply involved in horticul...more
Amanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane S.
This was a very different and hard to process psychological novel. I actually read part of it and put it aside for a few days just to think about what I was reading. The writing is lush,the prose wonderful the descriptions are very visual and sensory, at times beautiful. So on one hand is this beautiful background and on the other little random clues that point to madness and violence in a relationship. Yet these are easy to dismiss and the woman in this story does so, almost as it probably is i...more
Claire
Disturbing. But human. Girl has affair with her sister's husband. He's the violent type, but subtly so. Another book I've read in a day, and another one written in the present tense, which I'm not a fan of. It was slow, plodding, with glossed over sex scenes and glossed over violence, and absolutely nothing of interest in between. The ending was probably realistic, but still quite depressing, as you make your own conclusion (and we all know what would happen to her). I didn't really get the poin...more
gwscrsc
I don't like to read books in translation, the language never really flows correctly, as is the case here. The story works, you wonder why the girl is so... the way she is about Gabriel, all that stuff is fine. The way (the translated) Bohman constructs her sentences is annoying, the way she uses commas instead of full stops constantly plucks at your reader's ear, it would be much better if she didn't do that.

Got it? Let's move on.

As well as possibly being some subspecies of Scandinavian thril...more
Marcia
I would add a 1/2 star to my rating if I could. This is the debut book by a young Swedish author. She did a wonderful job of setting the atmosphere. I can't really explain it, but it was almost like I could feel the weather, the taste of the food,etc. The plot lacked a little in my opinion but the writers skill made up for it.
VerJean
Huh?? Don't think I'll determine WHAT this book was about.
Had the feeling these chapters were the beginning of a train wreck.
It does start with a train trip . . . hmmmm.... and is just slightly out of control from there .....
And the ending could make you think that the last 100+ pages got lost in the mail. . . .
I'm never sorry that I finish a puzzling book, as it did keep my interest as I was reading and I respect being able to write good prose, descriptions and set moods as are in this selec...more
Lauren
A chilling psychological thriller that put me in mind of "Fatal Attraction", "Drowned" gripped me from page one and wouldn't let go! Perfect for someone who wants a quick read that will stay with them long after they've finished.
Audrey Driscoll
The blurb on the back cover from the Swedish Book Review is right -- this is a psychological thriller. It can also be called claustrophobic; presumably Therese Bohman, the author, intended it to feel that way. I can't deny that the book is well-written, with detailed, vivid descriptions of scenes, smells and textures.
But I was left with a dislike of the main character and narrator, Marina. All along she seems sly, lazy and irresponsible. Near the end she seems to develop some concern about her s...more
Mikala
I'm kind of surprised by the low ratings of Drowned on here. I found it to be surprising and extremely engaging; I couldn't put it down until I was too tired to go on and even then I immediately picked it up the next morning. It was short and simple but that didn't take away from the plot which was the perfect blend of suspense and intrigue. The ending was pretty open and I know how people hate endings like that. A few years ago I probably wouldn't have been able to appreciate an ending that's s...more
Andrea Buschman
Marina (we don't learn her name until later in the book) visits her sister Stella for the summer. Stella is elegant and beautiful and lives with dark and mysterious Gabriel, a writer. They live in a cottage surrounded by a garden, which is described in intricate detail, (right down to the taste of the parsley in summer and fall!) Gabriel has written a book called Ophelia, there is a nearby lake with water lilies that Stella takes Marina to swim in. I hope I didn't give too much away there.
Tahmeena
Very heavy indeed on the imagery. I usually am not very keen on detailed descriptions but, for some reason, I actually liked the prose in "Drowned". The story is very atmospheric and, perhaps for that reason, the intricate details and flowery (pun unintended!) language worked. I appreciated the metaphors and symbolism...at least the obvious ones! I did find some parts a little repetitive, for instance, Ms. Bohman comes up with 165 different ways of discussing the weather: we get it, it was a hot...more
Book Bazaar
The success of Stieg Larson’s Millennium Trilogy has unleashed a whole range of European writing that Australian’s were never offered in the past. This has been a boon for crime readers and we are also starting to see some of their more literary crime novels as well.
Therese Bohman’s debut novel falls into this more literary category of crime novel. It is a psychological thriller set over the course of a Swedish summer and is full of literary allusion. We meet Marina as she visits her older sist...more
Aubrei Kamilah
wow. this book was a quick, yet heavy, read.

The first half of the book includes lengthy descriptions of springtime and typically uplifting scenery, while there is still a surprising and eerie feeling lingering through every line. The plot of this story is very very simple, but the complexity comes from the descriptions and writing style... which I appreciate. Therese Bohman is amazing at allowing you to feel like you are a part of the story. Every detail of the story is accompanied by descripti...more
Arlena
Author: Therese Bohman
Published by: Nordstedts Forleag
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Raven Rating: 4
Blog Review For: GMTA

Review:

"Drowned" by Therese Bohman was a literary, psychological, and chilling -thriller novel.

"Drowned" is of a university student from Stockholm,Marina, visits her older sister on vacation. Stella who is a horticulturist and her husband Gabriel....who is a charismatic older man and a writer. Marina is attracted to Gabriel and senses something very strange in...more
Mike Bull
Published in 2010, this book set in Sweden has a tense, sultry feeling throughout. Marina (the first person in this book) visits her sister Stella on a break from College, though she's supposed to write a paper. Her sister is often at work doing landscaping, and although her husband Gabriel seems merely warm to Marina, an edge attraction develops and she betrays her sister. Gabriel is a novelist who works at home, thus the opportunity has arisen. Marina leaves; the second part of the novel invol...more
Geeta
The publisher calls this a psychological thriller (or maybe one of the other reviews I read, I can't quite remember), but the book doesn't satisfy on either front. The plot is fairly simple--twenty-something Marina comes to the country to stay with her older sister Stella and Stella's much older boyfriend, Gabriel. Something's not quite right between Stella and Gabriel, and Gabriel puts the moves on Marina, which she feels guilty about but does nothing to discourage. I won't give away anything e...more
Natalie E. Ramm
Drowned is translated and I found the translation a bit dry in language and style. But the plot was compelling! Basically this college age girl, Marina, goes to visit her older sister, Stella, at her country home in Sweden. The sister is married to a writer, Gabriel, who is charming but has a dark side. Marina begins to fall in love with Gabriel and she finds herself getting sucked into a situation she doesn’t know how to (nor does she want to) extricate herself from.

I won’t say more for fear of...more
Michelle
This book was engaging from page one - it is atmospheric, well-written and I loved the imagery. However, there is hardly any character development, they are too two dimensional for my liking. It is also difficult to sympathise with, or like the characters. Enjoyed the first half more than the second, but found the ending unsatisfying, confusing and unrealistic.
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Therese Bohman is an editor of the magazine Axess and a columnist for Expressen and Tidningen Vi, writing about literature, art, culture, and fashion. She lives in Sweden.
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