Mrs. S

Europa. Jun. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9781609458409. pap. $18. F
DEBUT This first novel is a melancholic yet seductive character study following a young, unnamed Australian woman at an English boarding school. Working as the school’s matron, the narrator is bored by her job and isolated by her marked otherness as both a foreigner and a lesbian, until she meets the headmaster’s wife, Mrs. S. The narrator quickly falls for Mrs. S, and they soon begin a passionate affair. During this time, the narrator also befriends the Housemistress, the only other lesbian staff member and the only one who seems to understand the narrator’s relationship to masculinity and gender. Although much of the plot centers around the narrator and Mrs. S’s affair, the novel is, at its heart, about the protagonist’s emotional journey. With no mentions of modern technology, the setting takes on a liminal feeling, adding to the feeling of displacement that the protagonist experiences. The writing style is minimalist yet beautiful, and the text uses neither quotation marks nor paragraph breaks to indicate speech, blending the narrator’s interior experiences with her external ones.
VERDICT A powerful and introspective novel that fans of queer literary fiction will savor.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing