by Lena Andersson
“From the day she found language and ideas and realized where her mission lay, she renounced expensive living, ate cheaply, was always careful about contraception, only traveled rationally, had never been in debt to the bank or to any private person, and did not get herself into situations that forced her away from what she wanted to spend her time doing: reading, thinking, writing, and debating.”
Until, of course, now.
This short novel is about the woman described above, and how she abruptly falls in love. It is a literally excruciating look at self-deception. Ester’s love is unrequited and undeserved. Over and over, we wince as we read some variation on: “She thought: I should walk away. But I don’t want to. I want to stand here with him. It’s the only place in the world I want to be.” As Lionel Shriver says on a back-cover blurb: “Alas, most women have lived this story.”