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The Other Typist

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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  15,179 Ratings  ·  2,547 Reviews
A haunting debut novel set against the background of New York City in the 1920s…

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings,
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Paperback, 354 pages
Published January 2nd 2014 by Penguin (first published 2013)
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
3.5 stars

Well, I feel like I need a cigarette and a martini.

What to say about this book? It's such a mind-fuck that it's hard to piece together, and I'm not certain that the story (or the ending) actually makes sense.

Set in the mid-1920s in New York during the Prohibition, the novel follows Rose (the narrator) who becomes obsessed (perhaps sexually) with another typist at work: the beautiful, charming, alluring, mysterious Odalie. Rose and Odalie are typists at a New York police station. They
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Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
I don't know how I can properly review this book. My head is still reeling from that ending.

All through the book you think one thing, then near the end another and then the last page, the last words, just completely smash your theory to smithereens.

This book is a delicious mix of 1920s crime, punishment and mystery. Just who are Rose and Odalie, really? I still don't know. Which one is Ginevra? Were either of them ever Ginevra?

I am a sucker for a poisonous relationship in a book and all that it
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Dannaca
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: reviewed-books
First of all, let me say that I was dying to give this book five stars...but there were a few big things that meant that I couldn't.

First off, what I liked: Oh my gosh. This is an author with a great voice. The wording was excellent and it pulled me in from the get-go. She knows how to create atomosphere without bogging the book down in pointless detail and that is a skill that is lacking far too often in books. She didn't use a lot of words when she set her scenes, but I could actually smell th
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Julie Ehlers
Moderately entertaining, I suppose, but this has to be one of the most overwritten books of all time. So many adjectives! So many adverbs! So many idioms when a single word would do just as well! Vast amounts of clunky, obvious foreshadowing! And a narrator who's unreliable--which we know because she helpfully tells us so, several times. Uh, that's not really how you're supposed to do it. The whole thing reads like some kind of parody. I can't recommend it. If you're in the mood for some 1920s-s ...more
Dem
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dem by: Noeleen
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell is one of those novels with the right amount of suspense and intrigue that leaves you guessing right until the novel's conclusion.

The story centres around Rose who is employed as a stenographer in a New York Police Department and appears to be innocent and naive and somewhat staid in her ways. Rose's life changes forever the day the other typist is hired to work in her department and we see Rose become obsessed by the flamboyant Odalie.

Rose is an unreliable na
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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
*long, drawn-out sigh*
Mandy
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel really really bad saying this, but it was a disappointment for me. The set up sounded so juicy, but it didn't live up to it for me :(

Overall, I found it superficial, melodramatic and unbelievable. By that I mean, I believe these characters could have indeed existed as people and that these events could indeed have happened, however I did not believe the development was sufficient in making the characters multidimensional and circumstances were insufficiently described.

Now, I know a lot of
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Jessica
This was an excellent debut, and the author will no doubt go on to write some great stuff. I see this as a movie.

However. There were some elements (no spoilers) that just weren't quite believable. And I have some historical quibbles. No one will care but me - I'm just satisfying my urge to nitpick:

1. The protagonist claims a typing speed of 160 wpm. The world speed record was 147 wpm in 1923. I type 92 wpm on a modern computer keyboard, but I learned on a 1920s era Underwood, which is why I chec
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Carol
Holy Crap! I really don't know what to think about the outcome of this debut novel, but I sure was surprised! What I think I know for sure is this........

It's the roaring 20's in New York City and a psycho-lunatic is on the loose disguised as a young woman. (no spoiler here)

Rose is an honest, hard-working stenographer working for the lower east side police precinct who shares a small room in a boarding house with a lying, gossiping bitch.

Odalie is a rich, high society dame with a personal agenda

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Britany
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose Baker is a typist in a NYC police precinct in the 1920s. Just your average looking, plain girl, raised in an orphanage, with no close family or friends. Her life suddenly changes when in walks Odalie Lazare starting as the newest typist. Just as suddenly, Rose is introduced to speakeasies, luxury, and bathtub gin. She becomes enraptured with her new best friend to a detrimental end.

Honestly hard to believe that this is Rindell's first book. Writing is spectacular and I kept comparing to G
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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
The narration of the book was superb, the entire book was amazing, and the ending was incredible.

The characters came alive, and I could see every scene vividly. Ms. Rindell brought to the literary world a great style and an extraordinary book. Her descriptions are so lyrical and detailed you can easily and pleasantly visualize even the slightest action. The main "stage" of the book takes place in a police station, but that was not a detriment to the story. The smooth, easy flow of the novel was
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Carol
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-audible
This story is a well-written, twisty tale of obsession, betrayal and murder. I absolutely loved it!! Although not as bleak and complex, this mystery reminded me somewhat of The Woman Upstairs. The two novels involve self-absorbed, repressed and unreliable narrators. Both women become acquainted and then obsessed with someone smooth, sophisticated and charismatic; and that person represents all that they desire for themselves. Any more details would ruin all the fun. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Susan Melgren
May 07, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The opening line of "The Other Typist" was captivating: "They said the typewriter would unsex us."

But from there, it was all downhill.

This was hands-down one of the most disappointing, poorly written novels I have read in the past few years. The premise excited me: an intrigue/thriller set in 1920s "speakeasy" New York. Sounds good, right? But for all the author's excess use of adjectives, I got no sense of place from her writing. The characters may bob their hair, go to speakeasies and drink ho
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Noeleen
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, it's difficult to believe this is a debut novel. I had to keep checking to be sure. It is so well written. Set during the roaring ‘20s during the Prohibition, it tells the story of two typists, Rose and Odalie, who work at a New York City police precinct. But that’s just the beginning...this is a real page turner of a psychological thriller with varied, interesting and memorable characters, characters both within and external to the precinct. But it is the unreliable narrator, Rose, w ...more
Dianne
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Rose, the narrator, is a young typist in a NYC police precinct in 1923. An orphan raised by nuns, she is prim, repressed and smugly considers herself an astute observer of human nature. One day, a new typist is hired. Odalie has a husky, purring voice, expensive clothes and an alluring personality. Rose watches Odalie closely and before long, is under her spell. Odalie suggests Rose move in with her and they become roommates in Odalie’s posh hotel suite. Why would a humble typist be living in an ...more
Jill
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, that fascinating unreliable narrator! How we love to hate her! Suzanne Rindell introduces a particularly mystifying narrator to the forefront in the person of Rose – a typist in the New York City Police Department during the time of the speakeasies.

Here are the facts, and just the facts, ma’am: Rose Baker, a young woman with a very fluid sense of self, is working in a particularly seedy police precinct as a stenographer and typist. Raised as an orphan in a convent, Rose prides herself on her
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Heather
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Two is probably a little harsh, 2.5 is more accurate. My problem with this book is the same problem I had with the tv show Lost. They have in common interesting, well-written characters, intriguing backstories, and a strong sense of time and place. But they also have in common an incomprehensible ending that leaves you with more questions than it answers. I read through the reviews here and even did some google searches and the general consensus, even with the author's weigh-in, seems to be, "We ...more
Debbie
Rose is a prissy, obsessive, and unreliable narrator. She’s an uptight, seemingly upright, typist at a New York City police station in the 1920s. When a charismatic typist, Odalie, arrives one day at the precinct, Rose is instantly intrigued and seduced by her. Rose moves in with Odalie, who lives in a fancy hotel. We are led to believe that Odalie corrupts Rose, dressing her in riches and dragging her to speakeasies where bootleg booze is served.

As is true of most unreliable narrators, they nev
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Rebecca Foster
They say there are two sides to every story, but sometimes perspective is so fractured and the truth so obscured that there could be any number of sides depending on who you talk to and when. This is part of the brilliance of The Other Typist: on one level it’s just a glamorous Jazz Age suspense story, but on another it’s an interrogation of truth in narrative, exposing how spoken and written testimonies can be misleading.

Rose Baker is our wonderfully unreliable narrator, and I suspect you’ll co
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Carol
May 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The back cover of this book promises a lot..."a riveting page turner", "you'll stay up to all hours devouring its pages", "It's chilling to the very end", "messes with your head" I'm not sure, but I don't think we read the same book, or else the publisher mistakenly put the cover on the wrong book!! Have you ever tried watching paint dry? Well, I could pull up a comfortable chair, pour myself a glass of wine, and enjoy doing that more than I enjoyed reading this book….

So many times I felt bogged
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Bonnie Brody
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell may be the most riveting page-turner that I have read this year. I was hooked on chapter one and barely came up for air. It is so well-written and consuming that it felt almost like an addiction.

The story is about a typist in a lower east side, New York, police precinct by the name of Rose Baker. Things are going fine where she works and she is a very quick and accurate typist. After the prohibition acts of 1923 were passed, more people got busted and thrown i
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☮Karen
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love reading of NYC in the 20's. Our narrator, Rose, works at a police station typing transcripts of interrogations there in 1924-25 New York City. She boasts of her professionalism on the job and her simple law-abiding life. Then another typist is added to the pool to help handle the increased arrests from the raiding of speakeasies. Rose is jealous and in awe of the new hire, and then simply Obsessed.

Soon you don't know what to believe about anything Rose is telling us. As she seems to
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Carol
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, debut
An all out character driven novel with a slow building plot with quite an ending. My kind of book! and should make a great book discussion.

Rindell fleshes out her character(s) quite well, with excellent narration, reliable or not, by Rose, the original typist. Rose Baker, clicks away her days in a New York police department back in the days of prohibition and the speakeasies. Rose is quite the formal young woman and takes her job quite seriously, making few mistakes and not tolerating any from o
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Diane S ☔
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
3.5 I am not quite sure why but I seem to have read a few novels lately that have a naive young woman and another manipulative one. This one is very well written, a psychological tour de force, with an unreliable narrator and different revelations that keep you guessing. It is hard to tell for much of the book, how much of the truth is being told. Odalie is a prime piece of work, but although some things are not as they appear, some are and it is very hard to tell which is which and what is what ...more
Eve
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Eve by: All The Books Podcast
Shelves: read-2017
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"I recognized something was happening the very second she walked in the door for her interview. On that particular day, she entered very calmly and quietly, but I knew: It was like the eye of a hurricane. She was the dark epicenter of something we didn’t quite understand yet, the place where hot and cold mixed dangerously, and around her everything would change."

Odalie/Rose...whoever she is...has got me in an uncomfortable position. I don't know whether I just liked or loved this book. I'm so g
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Gayle
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review here: http://everydayiwritethebookblog.com/...

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell got some buzz in the book blogosphere early this summer, so (as usual a few months late) I gave it a try on audio in August. The debut novel has an interesting premise: it’s set in Prohibition-era New York City, and is narrated by Rose Baker, a quiet, prim woman working as a typist in a busy police precinct. She spends her days transcribing the goings-on in interrogation rooms, silently memorializing co
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Book Concierge
Rose Baker is a quiet and efficient typist in a police precinct in 1923 New York City. Having been raised in an orphanage she understands how to blend into the woodwork, proving her worth by her skills and hard work, and never taking liberties when she transcribes criminals’ confessions. An applicant for a vacancy is clearly very different from the mousy Rose. Odalie is chic and confident, and quickly draws the precinct sergeant, detective and beat cops under her spell. Rose is in turns astonish ...more
Blair
Set in Prohibition-era New York City, The Other Typist is a deliciously dark adventure, related by a classic unreliable narrator. Rose Baker is a typist, working at a police precinct: it's the mid-1920s and New York is full of illicit speakeasies and 'bathtub gin'. An orphan who considers herself plain and unremarkable, Rose admires the police sergeant, a paternal figure, and rents a room in a shared house where she barely tolerates her landlady and fellow tenants. She lives a quiet, predictable ...more
leslye
This is a terrific novel of psychological suspense set in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby was clearly a major influence, and the author does acknowledge an intentional homage to Fitzgerald.

The story really pulled me in from the beginning. Rose, the narrator, begins as a likeable character, but cracks slowly begin to appear as the story goes on. When mysterious Odalie begins to work in the same place as Rose, here begins a very flawed friendship that is much closer to obsession. The story of how pla
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Kathryn
Narrated by Rose, a typist in the NYPD at the time of prohibition, from the beginning we know that something has happened which Rose found herself caught up in. What we also know is that Rose is not a very nice character and it is made fairly clear that Rose portrays herself in her writing as she would like to be seen, despite inconsistencies that indicate that she is not exactly writing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I found this started slowly - I wasn’t overly keen to pi
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Sisterhood of the...: * September 2015 Book of the Month - The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell 21 19 Sep 27, 2015 02:52PM  
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Suzanne Rindell is a doctoral student in American modernist literature at Rice University. Her first novel, THE OTHER TYPIST, debuted on May 7, 2013. It has been translated into 15 languages and optioned for film by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Her second novel, THREE-MARTINI LUNCH, is forthcoming from Putnam on April 5, 2016. She lives in New York City and is currently working on a third novel.

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More about Suzanne Rindell...
“It is interesting to me how technology has in many ways facilitated and refined the practice of deception” 11 likes
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