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The Sister

The Sister [Kindle Edition]

Lynne Alexander
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £5.39 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description


It is a warm and accomplished work of sympathetic imagination. I felt myself, as I read, wholly absorbed into Alice s painful but fascinating interior life. --Hilary Mantel

Alexander has taken this troubled and troubling woman (Alice James) as the subject of her latest novel, and what an insightful, moving, fascinating triumph of a book it has proved to be. Her version of Alice is heartbreakingly intelligent; she is also irascible, manipulative, resentful, clear-eyed, brave, passionate. The fictionalising of a real-life figure can be tricky, but with this intense, demanding and hugely rewarding read, Alexander has achieved it with ease. --Lesley MacDowell, Sunday Herald

Product Description

William James, the psychologist… Henry James, the writer… Alice James, the sister? Alice James spends most of her short life in bed. Henry calls it her solution to the ‘practical problem of life’, and William is too busy and too far away to pay much attention. Her lifelong companion, Katharine Loring, is a constant support, but in the midst of coping with Alice’s pain and frustration, the two women are faced with the shock of discovering Henry has made use of them in his fiction. Alice’s witty voice rises vividly from the page as she casts an acerbic eye on the characters who populate her life and on the tensions between Katharine and Henry in this compelling fictional memoir.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1325 KB
  • Print Length: 451 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1908737859
  • Publisher: Sandstone Press (15 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,637 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was this a life? 23 Jun 2013
By LynneF
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although this is undoubtedly a well written and researched book, I found it heavy going and struggled to finish it.

The author cleverly creates the claustrophobic and confining atmosphere of Alice's life, defined as she is by her numerous medical conditions. She is a manipulative hypochondriac, who has largely opted out of real life, as she cannot compete with her two successful, but pompous and self important brothers and is bound by the constraints of her gender at a time when women were fighting for emancipation. We will never know if Alice was really ill or if her problems were psychological but a 'real' illness got her in the end. There is no happy ending to this sad life.

Alice seems pleased about her final diagnosis and so was I! By the end of the book, the many accounts of her 'conditions', recoveries and relapses, including consultations with doctors (and quacks) became rather depressing. Alice did have a sense of humour and there are many amusing comments from her but these are outweighed by her relentless sick room descriptions.

I did not warm to Alice and found her character frustrating. I wanted to tell her to 'get on with life - you only live once', but Alice hardly lived at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sister 22 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quite hard going and I found the "heroine" very tedious. But an interesting subject, especially living where I do in Rye.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Deep Reader VINE VOICE
This is a book that will be on the 'most wanted' list for a vast number of readers. Lynne Alexander applies her tremendous writing skills to give voice to Alice James, sister of Henry James whose ill health left her own talents largely unused. Or did it? Perhaps it was the suppression of those talents that caused her ill health. Either way, Alice's voice rises from the page with the full resonance of an ironic wit speaking from a quite desperate existence. The book contains portraits of brother Henry and the equally talented William, as well as other members of the James family. Most touching of all is the tale of her life long relationship with Katharine Loring. Comedic and tragic by turns, the voice never fails or wavers and the reader, at the book's close, is left with questions about a life lived as fully as social and health constraints allowed, of talents barely exposed to the world, of genuine helpers and charlatans, of love expressed below the surface. This is a beautiful story which deserves to be read and demands to be reread. It will join the list of classics it alludes to. The Portrait of a Lady (Oxford World's Classics) The Bostonians: A Novel (Penguin Classics) The Testament of Jessie Lamb Tell Me Where You Are (Fiction) Bring up the Bodies Wolf Hall
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting fiction 30 Aug 2014
By hairyZA
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read a biography on Henry James , by chance I came across this fictional biographical imagining about his Sister Alice James
It is a good read and I found the main characters , Alice her long time companion Katherine and of course her brother Henry very readable especially their sometimes heated interactions.
A light read and even though you know the eventual outcome almost from the beginning, the end is perhaps a little stilted and disjointed .
However I did enjoy the book as a whole.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant yet really annoying!! 7 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved and hated this book in equal measure and the only reason I hated was purely because of the blurb written on the back. The story sounds really intriguing (which it is) but the blurb says that the two main female characters, Alice James and her companion, Katherine Loring " are faced with the shock of discovering Henry (the famous Henry James,author, playwright and brother to Alice) has made use of them in his fiction". This is what made me pick up the book.
Alice is an invalid and spends a lot of her time in bed. She is supported by her friend Katherine. They live a quiet existence (there is the suggestion that they may be lovers as they appear to sleep in the same bed)but there are plenty of things to keep you reading. Alice is witty, selfish, sarcastic, blunt, acid tongued, often wracked with pain and full of such a burning personality that its impossible not to like her. You do despair of her sometimes and wonder at how she can afford (financially) to live so well, but the blurb is untrue!!
When Alice discovers that Henry has used her as a character in a novel her response is something along the lines of.. oh Henry how could you! And that's it!! The part of the blurb that could have made an entirely different story, one where brother is pitted against sister, where she could ruin him, his reputation and cause a cataclismic fall out (a thing the blurb leads you to believe may happen) is over with in around three words!! How annoying!!
As an accomplished novel it stands well on its own, but the blurb is a lie and does the book no justice at all. Alice gets out far more than you are lead to believe and despite her illness (which is never diagnosed), she does lead a very interesting life.
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