Second US Edition

First US Edition 
  Winner of the Next Generation Indie Awards

 for Best Novella

"My eyes are closed. The burning noon sun is creeping under my eyelids flashing red, an insidious wound stinging intermittently, reminding me that I hurt; therefore I am."

Maxim Smirnov has lofty aspirations. He wants to follow Mark Zuckerberg's entrepreneurial footsteps and become a billionaire before he's 30. But he's not there yet. A Russian immigrant navigating the competitive streets of New York, Max lives moment to moment, software contract to software contract. He sleeps in his office. All of his belongings fit inside an orange bed sheet folded in four. It's no surprise his stunning girlfriend is reluctant to move in with him. Answering an ad for a roommate, Maxim finds an unlikely friend in Giordana Gatti, a movie animator and fellow lonely heart who tells her story over the course of a prolonged conversation and quite a few glasses of Jack. Giordana's tale of unrequited love with a much older man is both familiar and illuminating, revealing disappointments and betrayals with biting insight that draws subtle parallels between the lives of these two characters.

Written primarily in dialogue, The Other Girl is a fascinating exploration of a man and a woman whose rich and complex lives intersect briefly but are changed immeasurably. There is something both natural and elevated about the conversations between Max and Gio that draw the reader in and keep them invested in the extended discussion. Giordana's narrative about the doomed relationship that she compromised her identity to salvage is told with unflinching honesty that meanders into the philosophical. While this is not a traditional story in terms of plot, Ares captivates the reader by creating two people who are realistically flawed and vulnerable in a way that not only provokes sympathy but connects with the reader on a fundamental level. Though the ending lacks a sense of real closure, the ambiguity with which it is drawn remains true to the tone and themes of the novella: Life is messy and uncertain. To wrap the story up neatly would be to compromise the message.


Short fiction is a difficult form. You have to keep your focus narrow and your language compelling. Luckily, Alexandra Ares knows this, and, in less than two hundred pages, she creates a beautiful, evocative, emotional tale of two broken people trying to heal.
The book opens with Max, a young programmer, suggesting that he and his girlfriend move in together. She rejects him, and we learn that Max has no apartment, no home. In the search for some stability, he rents a room from Gia, a beautiful, slightly older woman, who keeps him at arm's length. As they get to know each other, the walls gradually fall down, and the heart of the story occurs one whiskey-assisted night when Gia finally tells her story. Ares allows Gia's tale to fill pages and pages, proving that this book is about where these two are now, not where they are going.
A lesser writer would turn this into a typical romance, with the pair finding happiness and hope again in each other's arms. But Ares does not fall for this cliche. She is content to let her characters be, and the book is better for it. Max and Gia's stories are fascinating, tender, and imminently relatable. They are both imperfectly likeable, and their tragedies are personal and small, but endlessly interesting.

The prose surrounding their intimate revelations is perfectly suited to the narrative. Ares's words are beautiful and poignant, creating a vivid emotional picture but never distracting from the inner turmoil of the characters. She is talented without showing off, and The Other Girl reads like a subtle poem.
The opening quote is from Lolita, and this is a great choice. Though the relationships discussed in the following pages are much more legal (and less disturbing) than the one in Nabokov's classic, they are no less damaging. Usually I would say that including a quote from a famous author is a bit presumptuous, but Ares's skill supports the selection. This is a gorgeous, delicate, full-bodied book, and it is wonderful.
__San Francisco Book Review 
Most of the book takes place in the form of a conversation, an element that can go sour if not done well. In the case of The Other Girl is works, really, really well...This book reminded me of an art house movie...This is a great case study of how conversations have been written. 
__A Bookish Affair

What an intriguing novella! The Other Girl was so interesting and different from what I've been reading lately... I recommend it, especially if you are looking for something short and completely original.
__Madisonsays Book Blog



Young Russian immigrant in New York Maxim Smirnoff dreams of becoming the next software billionaire like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and to move in with his gorgeous girlfriend. In the meantime he has no home of his own and sleeps like a gypsy on chairs and in his office. When his lover is reluctant to take him in, he ends up moving in with an older Italian girl Giordana Gatti, a reclusive film animator with a powerful personality and feminist ideas that clash with his macho upbringing. She is "the other girl" in more ways than one, and guards an old, secret, unrequited love story. How will her fierce spirit and masochistic passion reflect on his own future choices? 

Provocative, gritty and unforgettable, The Other Girl is the story of a woman and a young man on the edge, torn between the desire to belong and feel alive and the desire to break away from unfulfilling love. Alexandra Ares writes in fierce, unflinching prose about the equally dark sites of passion and solitude and the tenderness of hope. 

“Tell a man he can’t date or marry a younger woman, even a ridiculously younger woman, and it’s like you’re taking away his birth right. Tell the same man that a woman is dating a younger man, an equally younger man, and he is calling her a cougar.”

“What’s that supposed to be, feminism 2.o?”

This novel might be offensive for men who believe that dating younger women is their special birth right, and for younger women who believe that taking advantage of these men is theirs. 
The book is available at all the leading online retailers in paperback and electronic format.
- Why did you write this book?
“After writing My Life on Craigslist, which is, to some degree, a crowd pleaser, I wanted to write a book where I won't follow any conventional wisdom about literary structure, formula and so forth."  
- What inspired you to write it?

"The symmetrical  synchronicity of two real stories that intersected at one given point in my life."


- The Other Girl seems to be a manifesto for feminism 2.0  What exactly is that?     

"We live in a new age when, for the first time in history, men and women have the same rights, the same education, almost the same earning power and opportunities. The last standing convention is that men and women still don't have equal freedom in dating and marrying younger people. For women there's still a stigma, only "cougars" do it, while for men is  a badge of honor and a 'birth right." I don't say that women start dating only younger men, or men stop dating younger women or start dating onkly older women. I say it's about time both men and women have the same unspoken social permission to date and marry  younger, or much younger, if they want to, without neither preferential rights nor social stigma." 

- What is this novel about?
"About social conventions, love, and ideas." 
The MARC records of the novel are available on OCLC (WorldCat) and SkyRiver.   
You can order the book from Baker & Taylor.