Forrester, Anouchka Grose 1970-
FORRESTER, Anouchka Grose 1970-
PERSONAL: Born 1970, in Sydney, Australia; married Patricio Grose Forrester.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Publishers, 77-85 Fulham Palace Rd., Hammersmith, London W6 8JB, England.
CAREER: Writer. Worked variously as a receptionist, jewelry designer, lampshade maker, muralist, and singer in a trio named Terry, Blair, and Anouchka.
Ringing for You (novel), Scribner (New York, NY), 1999.
Darling Daisy (novel), Flamingo (London, England), 2000.
Also author of Internet serialized novel Beau Monde.
SIDELIGHTS: Born in Australia but a resident of England since the age of two, Anouchka Grose Forrester is the author of two comic novels written partly as diaries and reflecting the discontented, unfulfilled, and meandering mental life of young women who are disappointed by their current circumstances in life. In Ringing for You, Forrester tells the story of an educated young woman who is working as a receptionist in London. The overqualified and unnamed narrator is so bored that she begins writing a novel-diary in which she explores her tumultuous romances, including one with the man she can only refer to as "the man who mustn't be mentioned" or "MWMM." In the process of writing, however, she is rudely interrupted throughout the day by the necessity to fulfill her duties as a receptionist—that is, primarily answering the phone and signing for packages. To indicate when real life office duties are interrupting her work on the novel, the narrator inserts symbols into the text, such as a little telephone or a pen. Eventually, the narrator becomes intrigued with her office mates and begins to focus on the office hierarchies and her developing affair with a shy, older coworker. In her second novel, Darling Daisy, Forrester once again focuses on a malcontent young woman. In this case, the title character leaves Las Vegas and follows her scientist boyfriend to London. Once there, Daisy finds herself broke, bored, and generally miserable. Once again the protagonist keeps a diary and offers her views on love, life, and her housemates, whom she loathes.
Noting that Ringing for You had plenty of "laugh-out-loud moments," Library Journal contributor Joyce W. Smothers commented, "Dickensian observations of coworkers and their habits of dress, speech, status-seeking, and sex are as dryly wicked as only an 'invisible' employee can make them." Smothers was less keen on the descriptions and story concerning the narrator's romances and was glad to see that Forrester eventually stopped inserting the "gimmick" of using various icons to denote office interruptions. Writing for Salon, Stephanie Zacharek was less enamored with Forrester's first effort, noting that Forrester successfully captures the nuances of office politics but writing that the book "doesn't amount to anything more than a flavor-of-the-month novel." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, however, called the book "an enjoyable jumble of neurotic journal entries, philosophical meandering, and academic asides." Writing in Kirkus Reviews, another reviewer noted, "Candid, fresh, and likable: Forrester's naturalistic tone and elegant voice more than compensate for her slightly—and endearingly—aimless narrative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1999, review of Ringing forYou, pp. 982-983.
Library Journal, August, 1999, Joyce W. Smothers, review of Ringing for You, p. 138.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 1999, review of Ringing for You, p. 48.
Time, August 23, 1999, Elizabeth Gleick, review of Ringing for You, p. 69.
Salon,http://www.salon.com/ (September 10, 1999), Stephanie Zacharek, review of Ringing for You.*