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Sisterland Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385618492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385618496
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the bestselling novels Prep and The Man of My Dreams. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Product Description

Review

"A work of psychological genius and has a wonderful twist at the end...a literary pageturner...There's a fizzing, daring originality to Sisterland that draws you in and takes your breath away." (Observer)

"Engagingly messy mixture of the comic and the sombre...a beautifully delicate way of describing both familial and conjugal love." (Guardian)

"Curtis Sittenfeld has a knack for capturing characters so vividly it's uncanny...brilliantly evokes small-town Eighties adolescence...the gripping denouement is expertly carried out." (Daily Mail)

"Wise and empathetic, this is a book with a great sense of humour and an even bigger heart." (Glamour)

"Sittenfeld's debut Prep was one of the best novels about adolescence written this century, and it is here, when dealing with the competitve world of teenage girls, that Sittenfeld is at her best in Sisterland...Like Kate Akinson with her recent Life After Life, Sittenfeld is a reliably realistic (if slightly dreamy) novelist who has here tackled a somewhat far-fetched concept outside her normal range and displayed impressive comfort in doing so." (Sunday Times)

Book Description

New from the bestselling author of American Wife, a novel about twin sisters who share a special gift, and the enduring power of the bond between them.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Welsh Annie TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I really wanted to try this one - a few years ago I enjoyed Curtis Sittenfeld's very clever American Wife, the fictional account of a First Lady with more than a passing resemblance to Laura Bush. Her other two books - Prep and The Man Of My Dreams haven't made it off my bookshelves yet. But there was something about the synopsis of this one, the twins with a special gift, that really attracted me.

"Sisterland" is the sign on the twins' bedroom door as they're growing up. The identical twins, Daisy and Violet Shramm, are rather forced into their own world: after a traumatic birth experience, their mother withdraws from life into her bedroom, and their father is equally disengaged. Very different in character - a difference that increases as they grow older - the girls discover they have a psychic gift. Daisy (who changes her name to Kate in an attempt to be normal, and leave behind the "Daze" of her youth) settles into life with her professor husband and her two young children. Violet lives life to the full and finally earns her living as a medium, achieving a measure of success in finding a missing child. The turning point of the novel comes when Violet predicts an earthquake will hit their home town of St Louis on 16 October, and a media circus follows, along with other far-reaching consequences.

Kate tells the story, but it alternates between present day and the earlier lives of the twins, with some wonderful descriptions of what life is like in small town America. As the narrator, Kate portrays herself as the constant voice of reason, the stabilising influence, the exemplary mother and child, but the flaws in her character are beautifully revealed and portrayed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hils T on 19 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
This could have been a fascinating story, investigating the concept of psychic twins, Kate and Vi, who have very different feelings and attitudes towards their senses of precognition. When Vi makes a public prediction of an imminent earthquake, Kate is filled with horror, not least because the prediction may be accurate. If only the author hadn't buried her plot in an avalanche of mundane unnecessary details! Yes, she is brilliant at invoking an atmosphere of time and place and of portraying the anxieties of a young mother but there were too many things I just didn't need to know and, in addition, I found the ending very "twee".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. Linton on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved Prep and The Man of my Dreams, but I have to admit that initially I was a little wary of this one - the subject matter - two twins sisters with psychic powers -sounded more like an Alice Hoffman plot and I'm not overly keen on mainstream authors dabbling in magic realism as the results are often distressingly whimsical.

However I needn't have worried here - the book really is a delight from beginning to end. The writing is excellent - so much so that the whole predictions/psychic insights theme just fits in naturally with the plot - you either believe it's a gift that the sisters have inherited or you don't but it really doesn't overshadow everything else. On the surface this is the story about a psychic predicting an earthquake and the media storm that erupts around her - we see events unfold from the viewpoint of the 'normal' twin Kate who has done everything to blend in as much as possible in complete contrast to flamboyant, attention seeking Vi. Kate believes that she has put her 'witch girl' past behind her with her name change and marriage and fears that she will be dragged back into the spotlight. But is her marriage the safe refuge she believes it to be? I'm sure I'm not the only one who saw a parallel with the TV series `Betwitched' - Kate has extraordinary powers yet she's happy to give them up to be a wife and mother. I loved Sittenfeld's honest portrayal of the day to day dynamics of Kate and Jeremy's marriage - the compromises both have to make for the sake of the family's survival.

This really is a page turner and I had to force myself to put aside so that I wouldn't finish it too quickly. Would really recommend to Sittenfeld fans, this is definitely the best book I have read (so far) in 2014!
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By DJF on 21 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a book that promised much yet failed to deliver anything special.

Vi & Daisy(Kate) are twins with "senses".They have glimpses into the future and can sense things about other people. In adulthood Kate is happily married with 2 very young children whilst Vi is making her way in the world as a psychic medium doing readings for people. Vi predicts an earthquake and the media arrive in town. Whilst all this is going on we have flashback chapters to the twins childhood and growing up - mainly concerning Kate.

This is a book with enormous potential. Whether you believe in psychic abilities or not you can see the potential for a very good story. However, as the book progressed the great earthquake story fizzled into nothingness and the big shock of the plot turned into a rather mundane one night stand. The decision by the author to concentrate more on Kate's home life steered this book away from something unusual towards something quite ordinary.

I didn't quite get to grips with the twins. Kate was trying to run from something which Vi embraced. However the characters weren't quite strong enough for me. Kate had moments where she was very passionate and strong - such as when she takes Vi back home from her college - but Vi was quite wishy washy on the whole.

The story was interesting enough for me to want to complete the book and see how it ended. I did feel quite let down and that the author had missed a chance to create a terrific book by erring towards the more ordinary.
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