cover image The Lover

The Lover

Helene Flood, trans. from the Norwegian by Alison McCullough. Mobius, $26.99 (3

Thirtyish Rikke Prytz, the narrator of this mesmerizing tale of adultery, deceit, guilt, and betrayal from Flood (The Therapist), is married to her stodgy first love, Åsmund. Rikke, who feels like “a rat in a wheel,” becomes captivated by her handsome upstairs neighbor, Jørgen, a roving-eyed journalist whose wife has given up her concert career to keep his home and raise his child. Rikke’s breathless fling with him, delineated in heady flashbacks, turns sour just before Jørgen is found dead, his throat slashed in his study. Lying to both Åsmund and the police about her actions, Rikke gradually descends into a terrifying emotional maelstrom, caught between guilt that motivates repairing what’s damaged and shame that impels her to hide it. With razor-keen psychological insights into all her fully fleshed characters, Flood delivers a sure-handed portrait of a bored wife as an immature everywoman adulteress. This is impossible to put down. Agent: Annette Orre, Oslo Literary. (July)