1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
You can choose your friends ...,
This review is from: Sisterland (Kindle Edition)
I became a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld's writing after reading American Wife a few years ago so was very keen to read her latest release but approached it with some trepidation, wondering whether or not I'd enjoy it as much as AW.
Sisterland tells the story of identical twins Violet and Daisy Shramm who may share the same DNA but are worlds apart in terms of personality and outlook. It becomes obvious early in their lives that the twins possess a psychic `gift' and as they grow into adolescents and adults, Daisy (who now goes by her much more sensible and prosaic middle name, Kate) chooses to play down her talent in order to live a quiet life with her geology professor husband. Violet on the other hand embraces it with gusto and carves a moderately successful career for herself as a medium, finding fame and notoriety when she helps the police to locate a kidnapped child. The seemingly perfect family life Kate has built for herself starts to fracture when Violet predicts that their home town of St Louis will be devastated by an earthquake on 16 October 2009. The media goes wild and Violet is once again enjoying the limelight, but not everyone in her family is happy about it.
The story is narrated by Kate in chapters which alternate between the present day (with Violet's earthquake prediction) and flashbacks to their earlier lives. As with the character of Alice in American Wife, Sittenfeld has created a very believable main protagonist, whose actions are irritating at times and not always understandable, but overall I liked `flawed' Kate much more than the `perfect' version of herself which she chose to present to the world. Violet is also very well defined as a character, annoying and endearingly vulnerable in equal measure. The issue of the women's psychic abilities isn't dealt with in any real depth; for me the book was more of an examination of family relationships, the impact of rash decisions and the legacy of betrayal.
It's an observant, thoughtful novel which may not be fast-paced or action-packed enough for some readers, but overall I really enjoyed it.