Sisterland review new york times

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sisterland review new york times

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Prep, returns with a mesmerizing novel of family and identity, loyalty and deception, and the delicate line between truth and belief.
 
From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.
 
Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today.
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Published 05.05.2019

New York Times By The Book Tag

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld – review

What kinds of books do you like to read during the summer? Any favorite summertime recommendations? Who is your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer? I started graduate school at Iowa in the fall of , on my 24th birthday, and in my first workshop, there was only one other woman. Her name was Susanna Daniel, and we quickly became close friends — she was fun to gossip with, and she could write amazing sentences. What kinds of stories are you drawn to?

I would like to have been in the publishing meeting where this novel was proposed. It's a tough sell. But that's only on the surface. Because any Sittenfeld novel is something unusually excellent. Plus, her dexterity as a writer swiftly allows you to forget that you are reading about two sisters with psychic abilities. And it becomes about much bigger things: family, trust, betrayal, forgiveness. As they grow up in St Louis, they slowly realise that they both have "senses" — the gift of seeing into the future.

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A Ghost Story Leaps Through Time and Space

Mistaken identity makes for great farce, and, paradoxically, identical twinship provides a way to examine what makes us different. Louis and Kate Tucker awakens to the rumblings of a minor earthquake. By the end of the day her flamboyant twin, Violet, a professional psychic, will have publicly predicted that a bigger quake will soon devastate the region. Her protagonists tend to be shrewdly observant outliers, neither Queen Bees nor Wannabes; they seem relatable, and they make us feel complicit. The sisters are close until Daisy is befriended by the most popular girl in their middle school class. Awkward Violet feels snubbed, and a fissure develops between the twins, eventually turning into a fault line.

I am looking for books in which out-of-the-ordinary phenomena like clairvoyance and telepathy occur in the everyday world. I also enjoyed the Mrs. Pollifax series, by Dorothy Gilman, which features characters with psychic talents. I would like to find some more books whose characters possess second sight, or other unique abilities, presented in a matter-of-fact way. Louis is rocked by tremors. Psychic ability runs in the family in two other engrossing novels, one antic and the other haunting.

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