cover image Bitter Bitch

Bitter Bitch

Maria Sveland, trans. from the Swedish by Katarina E. Tucker. Skyhorse (Norton, dist.), $22.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-61608-303-8

The inequalities between men and women spawns a dry, forthright work by Swedish radio and TV producer Sveland. Armed with Erica Jong's Fear of Flying to keep her company on a solo holiday to the Canary Islands, Sara compares herself to Jong's protagonist, Isadora: 30, tired of sex-stifling married life, and appalled by the persistently patronizing attitude of men toward women. But unlike Isadora, the advocate of the original "zipless fuck," Sara does not want to sleep with any one but her husband; she just wants to own her own life. Ensuing chapters cut back to momentous periods of Sara's life: her father's treatment of her mother soured Sara's sense of marital relations; her schoolteachers assured her that as an attractive girl she did not need to be a serious student; and her husband's long absences for work when she had a newborn son left her feeling abandoned. Over her week's reflection%E2%80%94some thoughtful, some tedious%E2%80%94Sara makes a few resolutions about how to best live her life. Not much actually happens; it's close, quiet, and more interested in ideas than in narrative. (June)